Meat & Livestock News

US Agriculture Secretary Mandates Strict ‘Born and Raised’ Criteria for Meat Procurement

In a significant move to bolster domestic agriculture, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a new set of regulations that will tighten the criteria for meat procurement by the Agriculture Department. 

Effective immediately, all red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and bison procured by the department, must be sourced from animals that have been born, raised, and slaughtered within the United States.

This announcement, made during a press briefing, comes as part of a broader initiative under President Biden’s executive order aimed at promoting competition within the agricultural sector.

Vilsack also revealed the creation of a Chief Competition Officer role within the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to address competition challenges and liaise with other federal agencies.

The new procurement guidelines aim to ensure that the $800 million worth of meat products purchased last year by AMS fully benefit US producers and that recipients of nutrition assistance programs receive domestically produced meat. This clarification is set to enhance the transparency and integrity of the procurement process.

However, the North American Meat Institute has expressed concerns over the potential cost implications of these new requirements, suggesting that the segregation of cattle could increase costs, impacting school systems and taxpayers during a time of need.

The National Pork Producers Council has yet to formally respond but has acknowledged the need for internal discussion.

In addition to the meat procurement rules, Vilsack announced a final rule requiring transparency in poultry contracting. The Live Poultry Dealer Disclosure Document will provide growers with essential information on financial expectations, including earnings by quintile, minimum flock placements, and variable costs.

This rule aims to protect poultry growers from deceptive market practices and is part of over 72 actions initiated by the Biden-Harris administration to promote competition in the US economy.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition welcomed the final rule as a crucial step towards transparency in the poultry tournament system, which has been criticised for its lack of clarity and fairness.

These sweeping reforms are set to be published in the Federal Register, marking a significant shift in the agricultural procurement and contracting landscape, with a clear focus on transparency, fairness, and support for domestic producers.