U.S – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has unveiled a series of initiatives that aim to ensure product authenticity, enhance meat processing capabilities, and foster a competitive seed industry.

These measures were announced at the National Farmers Union Annual Convention by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, marking a significant step towards aligning with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to promoting competition and consumer protection in the American economy.

Authenticity in every bite: The “Product of USA” label

A cornerstone of these announcements is the finalization of the rule regarding the voluntary “Product of USA” label.

Under this new rule, only meat, poultry, and egg products that are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States can bear the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” label.

This decision aims to eliminate misleading labels and assure consumers of the authenticity and origins of their food purchases. This rule is set to take effect by January 1, 2026, offering a grace period for establishments to comply with the new standards.

Bolstering local meat processing

In addition to label transparency, the USDA is dedicating U.S$9.5 million to 42 projects through the Local Meat Capacity (Local MCap) grant program.

This funding aims to expand processing options for the meat and poultry industry, particularly benefiting smaller and regional livestock and poultry producers.

Projects range from purchasing essential processing equipment to expanding the capacity of local meat processing facilities, ultimately intended to reduce processing bottlenecks, create jobs, and provide more choices for consumers.

Sowing seeds of fairness

The USDA is also focusing on the seed industry, launching the Farmer Seed Liaison Initiative to enhance transparency and competition. This initiative includes a nationwide Website Monitoring Program to ensure compliance with the Federal Seed Act, focusing on accurate brand and variety name information.

By elevating the voices of farmers, small- and mid-size seed companies, and independent plant breeders, the USDA seeks to improve competition and fairness in the seed market, empowering farmers with more choices and better information.

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