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Every Monday morning we catch up with Evelyn Pyburn from the Big Sky Business Journal. She always has some interesting info to share, especially when it comes to the business news in Montana.

Here's a great story about a Billings-area business that is now looking at a big expansion in Miles City. Not only is it an expansion for a Billings-area business, but Evelyn tells us it will hopefully give ranchers access to more meat processing facilities closer to home.

Big Sky Business Journal "Hotsheet:" Local Business Buys Miles City Plant

The owners of Ranch House Meats and S & T Project Meats, Shane and Tanya Flowers, have purchased Quality Meats of Montana in Miles City in order to facilitate an expansion of their business. They will rename the Miles City business Pure Montana Meats. While the Shepherd plant at 6608 Highway 312, is a state inspected facility, the Flowers are working on meeting federal requirements at that plant and making it a USDA inspected facility, as well, which will enable them to broaden their marketing area. There will be a total separation of the operations of the Miles City and Shepherd plants. Animals will be harvested and processed in Miles City and shipped to Shepherd to make retail products.

 

Prior Post: CONGRESSMAN MASSIE DISCUSSES PRIME ACT [AUDIO]

 

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When it comes to the cattle markets, and ranchers getting higher prices for their beef- could a piece of legislation known as the PRIME Act be one of the answers that Montana cattle ranchers are looking for?

We spoke with the author of the legislation, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) on our statewide radio talk show, "Montana Talks" with Aaron Flint. Here's the audio:

Congressman Massie was very pleased to note that Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) is a co-sponsor of the legislation in the US Senate.

For background, here's info from our previous coverage on the PRIME Act:

Why are the meat packers getting high prices for the beef, but we ranchers aren't getting high prices for our cows? That's a question that I've heard a lot here in Montana, but especially during the COVID-19 shutdowns when fresh beef was disappearing from grocery store shelves due to consumer demand.

Major cattle groups, and politicians on both sides of the aisle here in Montana have called for investigations of the major meat packing companies. But is there a more free-market alternative that we should be looking at?

One piece of legislation that is getting attention is the PRIME Act by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). The Tri-State Livestock News reports, "The bill would loosen regulations to allow meat such as beef, pork or lamb from custom kill plants (not state or federally-inspected) to be sold to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores."

Daren Bakst with the Heritage Foundation weighed in with a guest opinion column in The Hill. He says, "Congress needs to knock down these barriers that hurt farmers and American families." Here's more:

These reforms may not have an immediate impact during the pandemic. But they would change market dynamics, create more options for farmers and consumers, and increase meat-processing capacity. They would also help create a meat supply system that is better positioned to address a possible second wave of COVID-19 or future pandemics. Today, the entire structure of the meat-processing industry is a reflection of an inflexible federal regulatory system. But tomorrow, through these proposed reforms, the industry would better reflect market forces and be more responsive to the needs of Americans.