U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $89 million across the country to finance the startup and expansion of independent meat processors.
The $89 million of investments support the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, which dedicates resources to expand independent processing capacity.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA is laser-focused on standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, and more revenue streams and market opportunities, which helps bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Vilsack said. “Today’s investments and actions to back the startup and expansion of independent processing capacity and boost market fairness in seeds and other key agricultural inputs will promote competition, support producer income, strengthen the supply chain, and increase economic opportunity in rural communities.”
Vilsack announced the new investments at the National Farmers Union convention in San Francisco. USDA is providing $89 million in grants under the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) to increase available financing for independent processors, alleviate bottlenecks, and create opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural communities. The investments are being made under the second round of the program. Last fall, USDA awarded $75 million in grants to eight nonprofit lenders in seven states under the first round of MPILP.
Nonprofit lenders in seven states will use the funding to establish revolving loan funds to finance the startup, expansion and operation of meat and poultry processors. USDA is making the investments in Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
- In Alabama, the Alabama Agricultural Development Authority is receiving $15 million to finance 12 processing facilities and help a Tribal entity build a facility. The funds will benefit Madison, Blount, Dallas, Lowndes, Marshall, Mobile, Covington, Cullman, DeKalb and Lauderdale counties and will create at least 145 jobs.
- In Maine, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is receiving $8 million to help livestock and poultry processors in New England get access to capital and technical assistance to increase meat processing capacity. Coastal Enterprises will continue to leverage its decades of food-focused lending to help build a vibrant and resilient future for meat and poultry processors in New England.
- In North Dakota, Lewis and Clark Development Group is receiving $5 million to support the expansion of meat and poultry processing. The funds will focus on increasing capacity and diversifying America’s food supply chain while furthering economic opportunity with Cloverdale Foods. Lewis and Clark has a 20-year relationship with Cloverdale Foods, which has a long history of investing in local communities and supporting local pork and cattle producers. The funds will support Cloverdale’s plan for growth over the next three years. This assistance is expected to create 225 jobs.
Additional information on MPILP is available at www.usda.gov/meat.
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