WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new program on March 25 called the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA).

The agency plans to provide companies in the industry with grant-funded projects and applications.

Processors and interested parties involved in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) can access this technical assistance.

“This is a true partnership to help meat and poultry processors and grant applicants diversify processing ownership throughout the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Meat and poultry processing is a complex sector that requires significant planning and forethought to manage economic viability concurrently with worker, food, and environmental safety. We are pleased to partner with these initial organizations, given their deep technical expertise and demonstrated service to underserved communities, as part of our support for fairer, more competitive, and resilient meat and poultry supply chains.”

The USDA also said it will accept applications regarding $23.6 million in competitive grant funding in the MPIRG program. 

MPPTA will be set up to coordinate and offer technical assistance with three nonprofit organizations for a range of expertise and outreach strategies. The agency said MPPTA will establish a national network to support meat and poultry grant applications, help navigate the application process and assist grant recipients. 

Flower Hill Institute, a native-owned nonprofit based out of the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico, will serve as the MPPTA Technical Assistance Coordinator for this multi-year program. They are joined by Oregon State University’s Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network and the Intertribal Agricultural Council. 

The USDA said it’s also pursuing agreements with the American Association of Meat Processors, the American Meat Science Association, and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. 

THE MPPTA organizations plan to use both in-house resources and connections within the industry, academia, state and federal government. The groups will focus on federal grant application management; business development and financial planning; meat and poultry processing technical and operational support; and supply chain development.

In the announcement, The USDA also extended the application deadline for the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP), which provides funding to expand meat and poultry processing capacity until May 11.

Additional information on the MPPTA program can be found here