Meat products produced and processed here in Indiana can now be shipped and sold anywhere. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to join the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Agreement (CIS) program. The agreement has taken years to achieve, but now Indiana meat inspectors can provide a USDA federal inspection stamp allowing the meat to be shipped and sold anywhere. Dave Bough with the Indiana Board of Animal Health says this will provide a great new market for producers and processors, “Many of our plants are small family-owned facilities with less than 15 employees. This will provide them an opportunity to sell meat products across state lines.” Prior to CIS, state-inspected products could be sold only within the state where they were produced.
Bough said that, not only will this allow for the movement of Indiana meat across state lines, it will allow many Indiana livestock producers to sell directly to casinos and large hotel chains in the state. He stated, “National or regional chains will often only buy products with the federal USDA stamp so that products can be moved around to their different outlets in different states. Now Indiana producers and processors can compete in this market.” Bough, who is Director of BOAH’s Meat & Poultry Inspection Division, told HAT he is excited to be welcoming CIS into Indiana, “This eliminates barriers to plants selling products into Cincinnati, Louisville, Chicago, and beyond.”
There will be challenges facing the state meat inspection program, however, as there are still too few inspectors, “We hope this will help our program grow and that we will be able to hire more inspectors.” A large number of state inspectors were laid off in 2010 because of a cut in state funding.
According to BOAH, the businesses that will benefit most are generally small, family-owned operations, like Pierceton Foods, that produce custom, specialty products. Owner Jeremy Wagoner, Pierceton, IN, produces and sells a breaded pork tenderloin and a breaded cheeseburger under the “Paul’s” label. He hopes to transfer the regional success of the Paul’s label to markets in Michigan and Ohio.
The Cooperative Interstate Shipment program was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and finalized in 2011 by the USDA. Indiana is the fourth state to enter the CIS program. (Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Dakota are the others.) BOAH oversees daily inspection of products and facilities in 79 state-inspected plants, along with 40 custom-exempt facilities.