DES MOINES, IOWA — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $115 million to support independent meat processors. The investment will fund 15 projects across 17 states.

Following President Biden’s address on “Bidenomics,” where he advocated for a middle-out and bottom-up approach to economic growth, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explained how the USDA investment is intended to support the president’s vision. The funding will go toward increasing meat and poultry processing capacity, expanding market opportunities for producers, and fostering a growing workforce in rural areas.

“While American farmers and ranchers have been responding to the demand to produce more, their communities have struggled to see their share of the benefits,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is committed to championing meat and poultry processers, increasing competition and lowering costs for working families.”

Ten awards totaling $77 million will be provided through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP). An additional $38 million will be granted through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) to five recipients.

States receiving awards include Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Examples of projects include:

  • $15 million to Mountain West Economic Development, Montana, to support meat and poultry processing operations in Flathead Valley.
  • $2 million to three independent Michigan businesses — Mighty Fine Poultry Processing LLC, Retro Meats Co. LLC and Swift Run Market LLC — to build a meat and poultry processing facility that is expected to improve operations and increase demand.
  • $800,000 to Farmers Union Foundation, a charitable organization that provides resources for rural economic development, to lend funds to independent, small to medium sized processors in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The full list of projects can be found here.

Furthermore, USDA announced that its branch of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is awarding seven community and technical colleges with a total of $4.5 million. Granted through the Meat and Poultry Processing-Agricultural Workforce Training program, the funds will help build a pipeline of well-trained meat processing workers while supporting fair wages and safe work environments.