USDA commits money to fund meat processing startups, expansion
USDA press release
On Feb. 24, the USDA announced the availability of up to $215 million in grants and other support to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas.
USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will provide another $40 million for workforce development and training, and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide $25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.
Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program
USDA Rural Development is making $150 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). USDA is offering grants of up to $25 million each to expand processing capacity through a variety of activities, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment.
USDA encourages applications that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, Tribes and tribal producers, socially disadvantaged producers, military veteran producers, and underserved communities.
Visit www.rd.usda.gov/mppep for more information about the program or to apply by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 11. Questions may be submitted through the website or sent to MPPEP@usda.gov.
Meat and Poultry Processing Workforce Development
NIFA will invest an additional $40 million through existing workforce development programs to provide a pipeline of well-trained workers to meet the demand for both current processors and increased independent processing capacity. The primary investment will be through competitive grants to support workforce training at community, junior and technical colleges with programs specifically for meat and poultry processing. A request for applications will be published in April. Additional investments will leverage existing regional USDA education and Extension networks and establish new, or supplement select existing, centers of excellence at minority-serving institutions focused on meat and poultry research, education and training. Each of these investments is designed to deliver needed support more quickly. Additional investments, either through the same or new programs and partnerships, are expected later this year. To sign up for notifications of these and other NIFA funding opportunities, visit the NIFA website.
USDA expects to continue working with the Department of Labor to support and encourage the development of good jobs in the agricultural sector, including jobs in meat and poultry processing.
Meat and Poultry Processing Technical Assistance
USDA also is helping to ensure that entities proposing independent meat and poultry processing projects through MPPEP have full service technical assistance from application through post-award. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide approximately $25 million in American Rescue Plan funding to establish partnerships with organizations that will provide technical assistance to MPPEP applicants, recent recipients and future applicants of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program, and to entities who require general guidance and resources on meat and poultry processing. Of the $25 million, AMS will utilize $10 million to implement the first phase of support by establishing an initial technical assistance network and lead coordinator. More information about the technical assistance is available at the Meat and Poultry Supply Chain website.