The introduction of the A-PLUS Act is being largely supported by various industry organizations. The bipartisan Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States Act, known simply as the A-PLUS Act, seeks to improve access to processing facilities. Introduced by Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Jimmy Panetta, the legislation seeks to amend the Packers and Stockyards Act. Livestock auction markets would be permitted to own or operate meatpacking plants slaughtering less than 2,000 animals a day or 700,000 annually.
“California’s small family ranches often struggle to bring their products to market due to a lack of meat processing infrastructure in the state,” California Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President, Billy Gatlin said in a press release. “Ranchers applaud Congressman Panetta for working to address this issue by co-sponsoring the A-PLUS Act, which will enhance opportunities for California ranchers to access processing facilities to provide California consumers with fresh, sustainable, locally-raised beef.”
For more than 100 years livestock auction yards have been forbidden from financing or managing processing facilities in an effort to separate buyers and sellers. By removing outdated regulations, supporters of the legislation say the A-PLUS Act has the capacity to help alleviate some of the ongoing supply chain disruptions in the livestock industry. Overall, the legislation is also intended to support small businesses, while increasing competition in the marketplace and drive down consumer costs. The legislation is receiving support from the Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA).
“Today’s livestock auctions are often family-owned and regionally based. If one of these entities wanted to invest in a local processing facility to increasing processing capacity for producers in their area, there shouldn’t be an outdated regulation holding them back from doing so,” USCA President Brooke Miller said in a statement. “USCA would like to thank Representatives Panetta and Hartzler, and the Livestock Marketing Association, for working to advance this commonsense regulatory fix.”