Meat Inspection Act could mean more local beef in stores

Small- to medium-sized producers are expected to benefit from the change. Photo by Gwyneth Doland.

By Joe Thompson and Skye McMillon

One of the smaller bills passed during this legislative session could have a big impact on local consumers. A new state-run meat inspection program will shorten local cattle’s path from the ranch to the dinner table.

“Most of the meat sold in New Mexico has to be exported out of state then brought back in state as USDA inspected,” cosponsor state Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, explained to News Port. “If we could have more inspectors in state, more processing plants, we got more chance local producers can value add to their product.”


Sen. Pat Woods discusses Senate Bill 37, which would give the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) authority to ensure the safety and quality of meat and poultry for human consumption in New Mexico. If approved, the effective date of this bill would be July 1, 2024.

♬ original sound – Joe Thompson

SB 37, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed March 5, will give the New Mexico Livestock Board the authority to inspect meat in-state so that ranchers don’t have to send their cattle to Texas or Kansas. That means the meat could be sold in local markets and marketed as local beef, something that’s rarely possible now.

“A meat inspection program would support local economies by offering more local meat purchasing options to state grocery retailers and food service distributors and benefiting small to mid-size producers interested in direct sales for public consumption,” according to a legislative analysis.

“The way you get better off in New Mexico, or in agriculture, is getting closer to your consumer,” Woods said.