USDA Announces Grants to Expand Meat Processing
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week the availability of up to $125 million through two new grant programs that will create more options for meat and poultry farmers by investing in independent, local meat and poultry processing projects that increase competition and enhance the resiliency of the food supply chain.
These new grant programs – the Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program and the Local Meat Capacity Grant Program – are part of the broader $1 billion American Rescue Plan investment by the Biden-Harris Administration to expand processing capacity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors.
“This is the latest step in USDA's transformational work to fill gaps and help small and underserved producers market their products, support thriving local and regional food systems by investing in processing capacity that's closer to farms and alleviate major bottlenecks in food and agricultural supply chains,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Importantly, we're also taking steps to increase the overall availability of protein from indigenous animals like bison, reindeer and salmon, which have been the backbone of tribal food systems for generations.”
Since July 2021, for example, USDA has worked with 30 businesses to expand their operations through Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Project grants and has helped many more work toward a federal grant of inspection through Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants. More information on USDA's work to fulfill this commitment can be found atusda.gov/meat.
Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program
This new grant program will provide up to $50 million to improve tribal nations' food and agricultural supply chain resiliency by developing and expanding value-added infrastructure related to meat from indigenous animals like bison, reindeer or salmon. The program will fund projects that focus on expanding local capacity for the harvesting, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling or distribution of indigenous meats.
Eligible applicants are Indian tribes, as defined by the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, as well as wholly-owned arms and instrumentalities, and joint or multi-tribal government entities. USDA partners with tribal-serving organizations on projects to reimagine federal food and agriculture programs from an indigenous perspective and inform future USDA programs and policies.
More information is available on USDA's Indigenous Animals Grants webpage. Applications will be accepted through July 19.
Local Meat Capacity Grant Program
The Local Meat Capacity Grant program will provide up to $75 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to build resilience in the meat and poultry supply chain by providing producers with more local processing options and strengthening their market potential. This grant program is targeted to support meat and poultry processors with smaller-scale projects, with a goal to increase processing availability and variety for local and regional livestock producers.
The Local Meat Capacity Grants will fund both expansion and equipment-only projects through a competitive grant process. USDA encourages applicants to engage with livestock producers, especially small and underserved ranchers.
More information is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service's Local MCap webpage. Applications will be accepted through July 19.