OMAHA, NEB. — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding Greater Omaha Packing Company $20 million through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP).

The funds will go toward a planned $100 million investment to upgrade Greater Omaha’s freezers, expand its wastewater system’s capacity, remodel key areas for value added further processing and increase its carcass holding coolers. After the project is completed, the company estimates it will process an additional 700 head of cattle each day.

“This significant investment will allow the company to remain competitive in the marketplace and continue to support our small family feeder operators while providing incremental value back to the producers,” said Henry Davis, chief executive officer of Greater Omaha. “We believe the production expansions will keep us at the forefront of an ever-changing industry.”

On Nov. 2, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Omaha, Neb., to formally present the grant to Greater Omaha.

“Since President Biden laid out a commitment at the start of this year, USDA has worked tirelessly to give farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace,” Vilsack said. “By jumpstarting independent processing projects and increasing processing capacity at facilities like Greater Omaha Packing, these investments create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains, delivering more food produced closer to home for families, expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in rural America.”

MPPEP offered a total of $73 million across 21 grant projects in 19 states during its first round of funding. Greater Omaha is one of the two Nebraska producers to receive a grant. Borchard Custom Cut and Processing LL, based in Benkelman, Neb., received $200,000.

After two more anticipated rounds, USDA will distribute more than $223 million in grants and loans toward expanding meat and poultry processing capacity.