Meat & Livestock News

NASDA Calls for Renewed Federal Support to Sustain State Meat Inspection Programs


  • NASDA calls for full federal cost-share restoration for state meat and poultry inspection programs at the 2024 Winter Policy Conference.
  • Advocates for consistent funding to support and expand the meat processing industry and livestock sector.
  • Highlights the impact of recent funding shortfalls on the resilience of state programs and the essential role of state departments in meat and poultry inspections.

During the 2024 Winter Policy Conference, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) highlighted the urgent need for renewed federal support for state meat and poultry inspection programs.

NASDA members unanimously agreed on an action item that seeks to secure a full federal cost-share, underscoring the critical role these programs play in bolstering the meat processing industry and the broader livestock sector.

NASDA President and Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary, Blayne Arthur, stressed the importance of reliable and consistent funding. “To bolster and grow the meat processing sector and livestock industry, it’s imperative that Congress and the USDA provide stable funding to maintain state meat and poultry inspection programs,” Arthur stated. He pointed out that recent reductions in funding have significantly undermined the resilience and effectiveness of these state-level initiatives.

The action item put forward by NASDA members calls on Congress to mandate that the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) matches at least 50 percent of the funding for state departments of agriculture.

This financial support is crucial for the sustainability of state meat and poultry inspection programs. Additionally, NASDA is advocating for increased federal appropriations to the USDA FSIS to ensure the agency has sufficient resources to support these vital state programs effectively.

State departments of agriculture are pivotal in connecting with local processors and regulating state-inspected meat processing facilities.

Currently, 29 state departments operate their own meat and poultry inspection programs. NASDA emphasises the importance of cooperation between state and federal meat inspection programs for both intrastate and interstate commerce, as detailed in NASDA’s policy framework.

Historically, the cooperative agreement model between the USDA FSIS and state programs provided up to a full 50 percent match of funding, as stipulated by the Federal Meat Inspection Act. However, recent years have seen a decline in federal support, with states like Ohio receiving only 43 percent of the expected federal funding in the fiscal year 2023.

This reduction in federal funding not only threatens the viability of state programs but also places the burden of inspection and associated costs directly on the FSIS should state programs falter.

The surge in state-inspected slaughter establishments, fueled by federal and state government funding, has significantly supported independent meat and poultry processing businesses. Nevertheless, the recent cutback in federal contributions risks undermining state services essential for helping small to medium-sized processors comply with federal and state food safety standards cost-effectively.