USDA and Arkansas Sign Cooperative Agreement for State Meat Inspection Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the state of Arkansas have finalized a cooperative agreement, under which the state inspection program may inspect meat products produced for shipment within the state. This agreement is part of USDA’s broader commitment to supporting local and regional food systems and a more resilient supply chain.

Under the cooperative agreement, the state inspection program must develop, administer, and enforce requirements “at least equal to” those implemented under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).

“Today’s announcement with Arkansas will help strengthen our nation’s food system and help prevent supply chain bottlenecks,” said USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin. “This program is especially helpful to small meat and poultry processors in building their local and state marketplaces.”

With the addition of Arkansas, 29 states now participate in the State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) program. FSIS provides up to 50% of the state’s operating funds, as well as training and other assistance. In states with MPI programs, establishments have the option to apply for federal or state inspection, but product produced under state inspection is limited to intrastate commerce unless the producing establishment participates in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

States are key FSIS partners and formal working relationships are reflected in cooperative agreements between FSIS and state agencies. State Meat and Poultry Inspection programs are an integral part of the nation’s food safety system with about 1,900 small and very small meat and poultry establishments inspected under state MPI programs. FSIS provides guidance to state MPI programs under these agreements, reviews each state MPI program and its requirements and activities at least annually, and provides approximately $60 million dollars annually to support the state MPI programs currently operating.

In addition to Arkansas, FSIS has signed state inspection agreements with Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For more information about state inspection programs, visit

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit