Nebraska could soon have a state-run meat and poultry inspection program by 2013. Introduced by Nebraska Senator Tyson Larson, the bill would direct the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to create a cooperative state inspection program under federal law. The Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act could be implemented as early as Jan. 1, 2013 if approved.

According to the Unicameral Update, Larson said 27 other states have state meat inspection agencies.

"A state program would increase market access for agricultural producers and create opportunities for niche markets,” Larson said. “Nebraska’s lack of a state meat inspection agency puts our rural agricultural producers at an extreme disadvantage compared to their counterparts in neighboring states.”

According to Larson, the 2008 federal farm bills allows for interstate transportation and sale of state-inspected meat.

Michael Kelsey represented the Nebraska Cattlemen at the hearing and said the bill could provide a means to label products as Nebraska beef.

The program will be funded by the Commercial Feed Administration Cash Fund with an initial $200,000 transfer. Once established, the program will be funded by fees for inspections and licensures.

Meatingplace.com reports establishments that process poultry or meat products for human consumption would be subject to “ante and post mortem inspections, re-inspections, sanitation and program management.”

Dawn Kucera of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) and owner of Sandramere Beef testified before the state’s agriculture committee, expressing NFBF’s support for the bill.  

“The establishment of a state meat inspection program has the potential to open many doors for Nebraska farmers and ranchers who are interested in direct marketing their meat and poultry products,” Kucera said.

Download a copy of the bill here.

Source: Meatingplace.com, Unicameral Update