Wisconsin's Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen is out drumming up support for a federal bill that would allow the state's meat processors to ship their product over state lines.
Currently that meat needs to be U.S.D.A inspected. Wisconsin has it's own meat inspection program and its 299 meat processors meet or exceed federal standards. Senator Herb Kohl has introduced legislation that would allow those processors to sell their beef, poultry and pork over state lines. Nilsestuen says the current federal law isn't based on health concerns. “It's just basic 'fence them out' econiomics,” he says, adding that a change in the law would have a big impact on those meat processor's expansion efforts; “two thirds of them said they would . . expand their plant if this law were taken out.”
Nilsestuen says it's hard to estimate the economic impact a change in the law would have for those processors, but notes that just in the Twin Cities and Chicago areas alone there are 15 million potential customers. The Ag Secretary made the remarks Thursday during a visit to Brandon Meats and Sausages in Brandon .