USCA Responds to USDA Request for Feedback on Coronavirus Response Programs

(APRIL 2, 2021) – In response to a request for feedback by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on the development of coronavirus response programs, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) submitted specific recommendations the Department could implement in a food purchase and distribution program to truly benefit American livestock producers and processors.

Current beef and pork labeling regulations allow for imported product to be labeled “Product of U.S.A.” if the beef or pork product is trimmed, repackaged, or otherwise “transformed” within U.S. borders. This is a completely unacceptable process and could contribute to the gross misappropriation of federal funds in a government-operated food purchase and distribution program.

To that end, USCA’s Independent Beef Processors Task Force identified several measures USDA could implement to ensure the program maximizes its potential to benefit American producers and processors.

USCA Task Force Chairman Patrick Robinette of Micro Summit Processors in North Carolina issued the following statement:

“USCA appreciates USDA leadership and staff for soliciting feedback on the development, coordination and implementation of coronavirus response programs. Those who were involved in supplying product for the temporary food box purchase program created in April 2020, including many of our members, were thankful for the opportunity to serve the public in such difficult times. However, the administration of that program needed to be improved upon to better serve U.S. producers, processors, and consumers.

“USCA welcomes the opportunity to provide recommendations for improvement in the food purchase and distribution program, and looks forward to working with the Biden Administration to implement measures that prioritize putting American beef on American plates.”

>>> Read our letter. <<< 

From the archives: On August 28, 2020, USCA’s Lia Biondo spoke with RFD-TV’s John Jenkinson on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program’s current regulations and the effects it is having on local and regional processors.

“U.S. Cattlemen’s Association joined 11 other national and state groups in asking USDA to give preference to applicants for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program that truly demonstrate a commitment to procuring American raised and grown products,” Biondo said.