October 19, 2007
October 19, 2007 - Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (Iowa) announced that key committee members have agreed on a framework for the Senate version of the Farm Bill. The committee is expected to begin marking up the bill next Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) will be following the committee action next week since there are sheep provisions in possibly four different titles of the legislation including the wool marketing loan, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, tax credit for minor species health products and Conservation Reserve Program management.
On Thursday evening, it was reported that an agreement in principle was reached between some consumer, labor and farm groups to support a new meat and poultry program provision to allow state-inspected meat to cross state lines. This language, to be included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill as the Interstate Safe Meat and Poultry Act of 2007, would create a new, optional program for companies previously operating under state inspection laws that want to sell in interstate commerce. The act covers establishments with up to 25 employees. It requires companies to operate under the federal meat and poultry inspection laws and provides federal oversight of the operations in these plants. It also creates the position of state coordinator, a federal employee, who would provide oversight and enforcement; oversee training and inspection activities; assure that plants are in full compliance; and report to the secretary of agriculture on the status of plant operations.
The state-inspected meat bill that is included in the House version of the Farm Bill is more familiar to the sheep industry as ASI has lobbied in recent years for fair treatment of state programs for lamb meat. Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33