Home / news / Press Releases

Press Releases

Mullin Leads Letter Urging USDA to Increase Number of Meat Inspectors, Offers Long-Term Solution to Biden Administration’s Meat Pricing Plan

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and 23 of his House Republican colleagues recently sent a letter urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to increase the number of available USDA inspectors. The Members expressed disapproval of President Biden’s current plan, citing the need for long-term solutions to help address rising meat prices and allow small and independent processors to thrive.

“Oklahoma Farm Bureau applauds Rep. Mullin and his colleagues for their support of the meat processing industry,” said Rodd Moesel, Oklahoma Farm Bureau President. “Increasing the number and availability of USDA inspectors is crucial to ensure not only the survival of small and independent meat processors but also to provide opportunities for new processing facilities in rural communities across our state and our nation. These processors, alongside the major meat-packing companies, provide farmers and ranchers with valuable choices when it is time to process their livestock, which in turn ensures American families have a safe, affordable and abundant selection of meat and poultry on grocery store shelves.”

The full letter can be found here and below:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

We write to you today in response to the recent announcement from the Biden Administration regarding their plan to increase competition in the meat and poultry supply chain. We appreciate that the administration is finally acknowledging the rising price of meat for consumers and the need for more competition in the meat packing industry.

We agree on the importance of expanding independent processing capacity. This is a step that is critical to lowering meat prices for families and helping small businesses thrive. While the Administration’s proposed, $1 billion plan looks nice on its face, it is only a short-term fix. As soon as the money from this plan dries up, we will be back to square one with small producers struggling to keep up with large producers. A long-term solution is necessary to give these small and independent processors the certainty they need to operate their businesses long after this grant funding is no longer available.

As you know, the USDA inspection process is an integral part of this industry. Federal inspectors must be present at all times during the slaughter operations and for at least part of the shift where meat products are processed. For small and independent processors to thrive, USDA must increase the number of meat inspectors available. This can be achieved through the direct hiring of more USDA inspectors or through cooperative agreements with state inspection programs.

There are currently many vacancies for federal meat inspectors and numerous comments from the Request for Information (RFI) mention the need for more inspectors. Even if small meat processors receive grants to expand their facilities, they will not be able to help the supply chain if they do not have access to inspectors to inspect their product and get it to market.

We all can agree that food safety is of the utmost importance to both producers and consumers. If small and independent processors want to make headway into the market, they need access to more inspectors so they can quickly and safely get their products to market. With the announced plan, how will the Administration address the need for more meat inspectors? The small and independent processors in our districts and across the country deserve certainty.

We ask that you please address these concerns by February 15, 2022 and we look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.

Stay Connected

Request my newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news from my office

Office Locations

Request a meeting or find out where you can meet our team
  • Washington, DC Office
    2421 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2701 Fax: (202) 225-3038 Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-6:00pm ET
  • McAlester District Office
    1 E. Choctaw, Suite 175 McAlester, OK 74501 Phone: (918) 423-5951 Fax: (918) 423-1940 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT
  • Claremore District Office
    223 W. Patti Page Blvd., Claremore, OK 74017 Phone: (918) 283-6262 Fax: (918) 923-6451 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm CT
Washington, DC Office
McAlester District Office
Muskogee District Office
Claremore District Office