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Montana Ag Network: Expanded opportunities for Montana meat processors

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Montana has finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, making Montana only the tenth state in the nation where state-inspected meat and poultry processors can ship their products across state lines.

“With expanded opportunities for Montana meat processors, we’re helping add value and get Montana’s superior beef, poultry, pork, and lamb to market throughout the United States,” said Gov. Greg Gianforte. “My hat’s off to Executive Officer Mike Honeycutt and his team at the Montana Department of Livestock for working with USDA to expand capacity for our meat processors.”

With funding approved by the 2021 Montana Legislature, the Montana Department of Livestock has been working with USDA since August 2021 to secure the state’s participation in the program.

“The addition of the Cooperative Interstate Shippers program to the Department of Livestock’s services is a tremendous win for Montana’s livestock producers and processors,” said Montana Department of Livestock Executive Officer Mike Honeycutt. “Following the governor’s emphasis on growing value-added agricultural processing in his Montana Comeback Plan and significant financial investments made by the state to help meat processors grow their processing capacity, the CIS program will now give state-inspected processors an option to expand and grow their markets beyond our state borders.”

The CIS program is limited to states that have established a Meat and Poultry Inspection program for products to be shipped solely within the state. FSIS will reimburse Montana for 60% of costs associated with providing interstate eligible inspection service.

The other nine states with similar CIS agreements include Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin.