OKLAHOMA CITY— An amended version of the “Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants” (RAMP-UP) Act was included in the most recent Covid-19 relief package that passed Congress Dec. 21. The legislation, originally sponsored by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and now former Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), addresses the shortfall in federally-inspected meat facilities.

The bipartisan legislation allows for more small-scale processing facilities to engage in interstate shipment of meat products by providing $60 million in grants to small-scale meat and poultry processing facilities to upgrade to federal inspection. Facilities can use grant funds to modernize or expand facilities, upgrade equipment or implement other processes to ensure food safety. The additional funds would ultimately provide more processing capacity nationwide.

“I am thrilled to see this amended version of the RAMP-UP Act pass Congress,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “Small-scale ‘mom and pop’ processing facilities are an integral part of Oklahoma’s and the nation’s meat processing industry. This legislation will help break down the barrier to federal inspection and provide small processing facilities access to additional markets and increased revenues.

“The RAMP-UP Act is a straight-forward solution to one piece of the multi-faceted meat processing issue,” said Blubaugh. “We still have a long way to go, but this is an excellent bipartisan place to start. I’m glad to see Rep. Frank Lucas, one of Oklahoma’s own, taking the lead and helping Oklahoma play a significant role in finding solutions for our nation’s beef producers.”

AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.