Des Moines, IA, June 29, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is making investments to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity, expand market opportunities for farmers and support a growing workforce in rural areas. The announcement comes on the heels of President Biden delivering a major address on “Bidenomics” —his vision for growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up by investing in America, increasing competition, and empowering workers.
“While American farmers and ranchers have been responding to the demand to produce more, their communities have struggled to see their share of the benefits,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is committed to championing meat and poultry processers, increasing competition and lowering costs for working families. The announcement I’m making today highlights these producers and reflects the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which advances a sustainable vision of agriculture, prioritizes the needs of our producers and small businesses, promotes competition, strengthens our domestic agricultural supply chains and brings prosperity to people and places in rural parts of our country.”
USDA is providing 15 awards totaling $115 million in 17 states. USDA is providing five awards totaling $38 million through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) to help independent processors in five states. USDA is also providing 10 awards totaling $77 million under the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) in 12 states.
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is also providing seven awards totaling $4.5 million to community and technical colleges in seven states through the Meat and Poultry Processing–Agricultural Workforce Training (AWT) program. These investments will build a pipeline of well-trained meat processing workers and support safe workplaces with fair wages for workers.
Secretary Vilsack made today’s announcement during a roundtable with producers and businesses in Des Moines, Iowa, and highlighted efforts under the Biden-Harris Administration to build more, new and better markets and strengthen farm and food businesses. This visit comes as officials from the Biden-Harris Administration are spending the next two weeks in communities across the country to demonstrate how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is delivering results and creating transformative new economic opportunities for families and businesses.
Some examples of projects in today’s announcement include:
- In Montana, Mountain West Economic Development will use a $15 million MPILP investment to support meat and poultry processing and slaughterhouse operations in Flathead Valley.
- In Michigan, three independent businesses will use a $2 million MPPEP award to help construct and equip a meat and poultry processing and retail facility: Mighty Fine Poultry Processing, LLC will slaughter and process poultry; Retro Meats Company, LLC will process red meat; and Swift Run Market, LLC will also process and sell meat products. Together, these activities are expected to increase demand for animals, increase opportunities for producers, and improve processing operations.
- Farmers Union Foundation, a charitable organization that provides resources for rural economic development, will use an $800,000 MPILP award to lend funds to independent small and medium sized meat processors in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Today’s announcement will support projects in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to making our economy more diversified and resilient, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
Through the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden-Harris Administration has made once-in-a-generation investments in rural America. These investments have provided USDA with an unprecedented number of resources to invest in rural communities and transform our food system —furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government efforts to promote fair competition, innovation, and resiliency across food and agriculture.
These announcements 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 and support workers.
Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP)
The Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP), made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funding, provides grants to help eligible independent processors expand their capacity. USDA Rural Development designed the MPPEP to encourage competition and sustainable growth in the U.S. meat processing sector, and to help improve supply chain resiliency. To date in fiscal year 2023, USDA has awarded $171 million to 31 MPPEP projects that have created nearly 3,000 jobs in rural communities.
Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP)
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to intermediary lenders who finance the start-up, expansion, or operation of independent meat and poultry processing facilities. The objective of the MPILP is to strengthen the financing capacity for independent meat processors, and to create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. To date in fiscal year 2023, USDA has awarded $186 million to 24 MPILP projects that supported economic growth in 14 states and Puerto Rico.
Meat and Poultry Processing–Agricultural Workforce Training (AWT) Program
Leaders across the beef, pork and poultry industries consistently share that an expanded, well-trained workforce is one of their most persistent needs. Safe and resilient meat and poultry supply chains require a skilled, credentialed and diverse workforce. The Meat and Poultry Processing–Agricultural Workforce Training (AWT) program, offered in Fiscal Year 2022 through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funding, supports projects that develop, expand and standardize meat and poultry processing training programs at community and technical colleges, providing a well-trained future workforce.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans, loan guarantees and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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 www.usda.gov.
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