Small, state-inspected meat and poultry establishments in Ohio will be the first to sell their products interstate under a new program announced yesterday by USDA.  USDA’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program was established by the 2008 Farm Bill to facilitate this process.

Under the cooperative agreement, small, state-inspected businesses with 25 or fewer employees will be allowed to sell meat and poultry products across state lines. Meat and poultry products produced in selected establishments will be subject to the same regulatory sampling programs as those established in the federal inspection program, USDA said.

In 2011, USDA finalized regulations to allow state employees to administer federal regulations and use federal marks of inspection at elected establishments.  Prior to the creation of this program, state-inspected businesses could only sell products within their state.  USDA will shortly publish a directive detailing how states and small businesses can join the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture told NCC that Ohio has several poultry plants that will qualify for the program in the small category.