Chaves County Commission votes to have state meat inspection program

Politics - Government

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – The pandemic has the New Mexico Agriculture Department looking to help out cattle ranchers. The department wants to bring back state meat inspectors. This would help to process plants to sell locally without waiting for Federal inspections. Chaves County Commissioners voted Thursday to see if this would be a good idea for the county. “Allow them to package and sell New Mexico labeled products to consumers in New Mexico, staff recommends approval,” said Interm County Manager Bill Williams.

Chaves County Commissioners met Thursday morning to discuss and vote on a resolution to work with the New Mexico Agriculture Department to bring back the state meat inspection program. Commissioners talked about how important it is to have locally sourced food, especially when we are dealing with a pandemic. “During this trying time, people are kind of worried about being able to find any type of groceries right now–we’ve seen the panic runs on grocery stores and stuff,” said Commissioner Dara Dana.

Interm County Manager Bill Williams said they have been working with the Secretary of State Jeff Whitte to see if bringing back the inspectors would benefit the state. The last time New Mexico had state meat inspectors was in 2007. “The way it currently works is you have to have a USDA inspection in order to sale your meat, and that can be sold within the state and or out of the state as well, but with this new state meat inspection program which the state had previously,” said Interm County Manager Bill Williams.

County Manager Bill Williams said currently there are only a handful of plants that are USDA certified, and this can make it difficult to find locally raised meat during the pandemic. County commissioners believe this could bring more meat processing plants and jobs to Southeast New Mexico.

“That would allow a lot of these smaller processing plants to be able to process beef, instead of having four businesses within the state that can process beef for public sale might have 50,” said Interm County Manager Bill Williams.

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