Tell Congresspeople to Cosponsor the PRIME Act


Support Local Meat Processing

Tell Your Representative and Senators to Cosponsor the PRIME Act

The PRIME Act [House Resolution 2814 (H.R. 2814) and Senate Bill 907 (S.907)], badly needed legislation that would allow states to pass laws legalizing the sale of custom slaughtered and processed meat in intrastate commerce, has been before Congress the past eight years; there has never been a better chance to pass this bill than now.

Congress is currently in the process of writing up the 2023 Farm Bill; the PRIME Act has a better chance of passing into law as part of the Farm Bill rather than as stand-alone legislation. Giving the bill momentum was a congressional hearing last month that the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Administrative State, Regulatory Reform, and Antitrust held titled “Where Is the Beef? Regulatory Barriers to Entry and Competition in Meat Processing”; a focus was on the PRIME Act as a solution to the difficulties small farmers and ranchers have in meeting demand for local meat with the current laws in place that favor the big meatpackers. There had never been a congressional hearing on the PRIME Act since Rep. Thomas Massie first introduced the measure in 2015.

Congress is now on its summer break; your legislators are home this month in their district offices. The Senate is not returning to Washington, DC, until September 5, and the House of Representatives is not resuming operations until September 11. Now is the time to meet your congressmen or their staffers and tell them why it’s important that they cosponsor the PRIME Act.

Thanks to those of you who responded to last month alert and contacted the senators and representatives. Please contact again anyone who did not sign onto the PRIME Act as a cosponsor.

The more cosponsors HR 2814/S907 can get, the greater the chance of passing as part of the Farm Bill. Your participation and help can make that happen.


1. Meet with your U.S. legislators or their staffer from their offices.` Tap the links below to see who has cosponsored the bills:

HR2418 – l/118th-congress/house-bill/ 2814/cosponsors
S.907 – l/118th-congress/senate-bill/ 907/cosponsors

You can look up who represents you at or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

2. If you aren’t able to meet with your legislators, call and/or email your U.S. Representative and both your U.S. Senators and ask them to sign onto HR 2814 / S907.

During August, the members of Congress leave DC to spend a month back in their home districts. They attend town halls and local events, which are a great time to ask them in person – and in front of others in your community – to support the PRIME Act! When you call their offices, you can try to arrange a meeting with the congressmen or a staffer; you can also ask them what events they will be hosting or attending in your area. And then make plans to go!

Some tips:

  1. Be friendly, polite, and positive. If they respond in a way that you don’t like (such as saying they’re opposed because of food safety, or talking about how the big industry players “feed the world”), don’t get hostile or angry — use it as an opening to educate them.
  2. Getting contact information for a staffer, and giving them your contact information, helps the education process. Bring business cards, a farm flyer, or some other piece you can leave with the staff so they can reach you later – and ask for their business card.
  3. Think about what matters to the elected official. Are they talking about supporting small businesses? National security? Environmental concerns? Health? Helping small farmers have local, scale-appropriate options for processing their animals and selling meat to their local community helps ALL of these. Explain to them why the PRIME Act is right up their alley.
  4. Bring friends. Having 2 or 3 people reinforcing the importance of this issue is great.

TALKING POINTS 1. Passage of the PRIME Act would better enable farmers to meet booming demand for locally produced meat. Right now in parts of the country, farmers have to book a slaughterhouse slot as much as 1-1/2 to 2 years out. Moreover, farmers often have to transport their animals several hours to a slaughterhouse, increasing their expenses and stressing out the animals which could affect the quality of the meat.

Passage of the PRIME Act would significantly increase access to local slaughterhouses.
2. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food safety. Anywhere from 95% to 99% of the meat produced in the U.S. is slaughtered in huge facilities that process 300–400 cattle an hour. It is difficult to have quality control in the plant under those conditions no matter how many inspectors are present. The records bear this out. According to CDC statistics from 2005–2020, there were thousands of foodborne illness from the consumption of beef and pork. The big plants process more animals in a day than a custom house would in a year. There is better quality control in a custom slaughterhouse, inspector or no inspector. A 2020 FOIA request to USDA, seeking the number of foodborne illnesses from 2012 to 2020 attributed to the consumption of meat slaughtered and processed at a custom facility received a response from USDA that it had no record of any such illnesses. Custom operators have every incentive to process clean meat. Where a lawsuit against a big plant is just a cost of doing business, one lawsuit can easily shut down a custom house.
3. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food security. Supply chain breakdowns and labor shortages have made the food supply more vulnerable. Passage of the PRIME Act would improve food security by increasing the local supply of quality meat, food that for most of us is critical for a healthy diet.
4. Passage of the PRIME Act would not be competition to the conventional meat industry; the meatpacker and small farms have mostly different markets. One sells mainly into the export market and big supermarket chains; the other sells into local communities direct to consumers and small mom-and-pop stores.
5. Passage of the PRIME Act would keep more of the food dollar in the state and community. The big food corporations send much of the money they earn out of the state; more of the money that local farmers, ranchers and custom house operators earn would circulate within the state and community, strengthening the local economy.


Current law provides that the sale of meat is legal only if the animal is slaughtered and processed at a facility under state or federal inspection; “inspection” in this context means that an inspector is present when slaughtering or processing take place. This requirement went into effect due to Congress passing the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, disastrous legislation that has been largely responsible for the formation of oligopolies in the beef and pork industries. Custom slaughter and processing facilities do not require that an inspector be present, but only the owners of the animals are allowed to receive the meat slaughtered and processed at custom houses. The sale of custom meat is illegal. The PRIME Act would lift the federal ban on the sale of custom meat. Custom facilities would still be subject to federal and state regulations, including inspection; however, inspectors would no longer have to be on site at custom facilities during slaughtering and processing of animals for meat sales to be legal in intrastate commerce.

Further alerts will be sent out on the PRIME Act as events warrant .


HR 2814 – l/118th-congress/house-bill/ 2814

S907 – l/118th-congress/house-bill/ 2814/cosponsors

Hearing video –

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