SAN FRANCISCO — The Biden-Harris administration is investing $89 million toward independent meat processors, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 6 at the National Farmers Union convention in San Francisco.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA is laser-focused on standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets and more revenue streams and market opportunities, which helps bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Vilsack said. “Today’s investments and actions to back the startup and expansion of independent processing capacity and boost market fairness in seeds and other key agricultural inputs will promote competition, support producer income, strengthen the supply chain and increase economic opportunity in rural communities.”

The funds are being pooled into the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP), which provides grants for intermediary lenders who finance meat and poultry processing start-ups, expansions and operations.

Last fall, the first round of MPILP funding totaled $75 million in grants and was distributed to eight nonprofit lenders across seven states. The awards ranged from $2 million to $15 million.

Examples of projects include the following:

  • The Alabama Agricultural Development Authority, Montgomery, Ala., is receiving $15 million to finance 12 processing facilities and help a Tribal entity build a facility. The funds will benefit Madison, Blount, Dallas, Lowndes, Marshall, Mobile, Covington, Cullman, DeKalb and Lauderdale counties and will create at least 145 jobs.
  • Coastal Enterprises Inc., Brunswick, Maine, is receiving $8 million to help livestock and poultry processors in New England get access to capital and technical assistance to increase meat processing capacity. Coastal Enterprises will continue to leverage its decades of food-focused lending to help build a vibrant and resilient future for meat and poultry processors in New England.
  • Lewis and Clark Development Group, Mandan, ND, is receiving $5 million to support the expansion of meat and poultry processing. The funds will focus on increasing capacity and diversifying America’s food supply chain while furthering economic opportunity with Cloverdale Foods. Lewis and Clark has a 20-year relationship with Cloverdale Foods, which has a long history of investing in local communities and supporting local pork and cattle producers. The funds will support Cloverdale’s plan for growth over the next three years. This assistance is expected to create 225 jobs.