Why the Big Guys want to shut down US farming – and how we can fight back

“This why the PRIME Act is so important. Farmers don’t need hand outs, they just need a reasonable legal path to sell to consumers that doesn’t require them to be serfs of multinational corporations.” Tom Massie. Remember this is a bipartisan issue. It affects all of us. Please lobby your congressman or woman. Let’s be able to buy healthy food from people who care. (And please, can we buy raw milk again…)


Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) re-introduced the PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act to make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve consumers. The PRIME Act (H.R. 2814) would give individual states freedom to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, or lamb to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores. 

“Consumers want to know where their food comes from, what it contains, and how it’s processed. Yet, federal inspection requirements make it difficult to purchase food from trusted, local farmers,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky). “It is time to open our markets to give producers the freedom to succeed and consumers the freedom to choose.”

“More and more, consumers want to know where their food is coming from, especially after the pandemic exposed break downs in our supply chains,” said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). “A farmer in Maine shouldn’t have to drive hours to get to a USDA-inspected processing facility when other safe options are available. The bipartisan PRIME Act will make it easier for local farms to compete with big meat companies and make locally raised livestock processing more widely available. This bill will address the needs of communities in a way that supports them by allowing America’s family farms to do what they do best – feed their neighbors.”

Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, but only if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee use (21 U.S.C. § 623(a)). This means that in order to sell individual cuts of locally raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses. These USDA-inspected slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away from farms and ranches, adding substantial transportation costs and increasing the chances of locally raised meat co-mingling with industrially-produced meat. The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive.

Companion legislation (S. 907) has been introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

Other original co-sponsors of the PRIME Act include: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL), Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rep. Victora Spartz (R-IN), and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY). 

Massie raises cattle on his off-the-grid farm in northeast Kentucky. Pingree raises grass-fed beef and chickens on her island farm in North Haven, Maine.

The text of the PRIME Act is available at this link