AUGUSTA — Maine agriculture officials say the state has signed an agreement that will allow slaughterhouses and processors to wholesale their products everywhere in the country.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the state inked the deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Before the agreement, Maine slaughterhouses and processors were only allowed to slaughter and process animals for wholesale or retail within the state.

The state agriculture department says Maine is the fifth state to reach this kind of agreement and the only state to reach one on the East Coast. State officials say the deal is important for Maine’s livestock sector because producers who utilize state inspected plants will now be able to sell products out of state and over the internet.