HELENA, Mont. (NMB) – Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer has announced their support for House Bill 336, which would allow Montana to enter an interstate cooperative meatpacking compact.
“It is ridiculous that a state of Montana inspected plant cannot sell meat across state lines, while a meat processing plant in Brazil, meeting the same standards as our state inspected plants, can export to any state around. It’s just wrong.”
Schweitzer has proposed a friendly amendment that would instruct the Board of Livestock to apply and implement a Cooperative Interstate Shipment agreement with the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
“Right now there is a lot of concern because the FSIS has sent letters to the Board of Livestock for the state of Montana that if they were to implement this rule, it would put them in violation with the FSIS agreement for meat inspections. And it could put at risk the grant of inspections that the state inspected plants have and our custom excempt butcher shops have. It could also put at risk the cost reimbursement that our USDA plants get for the inspectors…(the amendment) would protect all of the butcher shops, all of the meat processing plants in the state of Montana, and it would allow our state inspected plants to be able to export meat out of Montana.”
House Bill 336, which is sponsored by Sidney Republican Brandon Ler, is scheduled for a hearing at 3 PM today in the House Agriculture Committee.