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USDA allocates $59m to independent processors

Article-USDA allocates $59m to independent processors

21597185/iStock/Thinkstock meat processing slaughter inspection
This is third set of MPPEP grants announced since November.

USDA announced it would allocate $59 million in federal grants to five independent processors. Funding will come through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, which helps processors expand their capacity.

The MPPEP was created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that these investments will give farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace and help lower food costs.

“For too long, American farmers and ranchers have been asked to produce more to meet increasing demand across the country and around the world, while they and the rural communities they come from have struggled to see their fair share of the benefits,” Vilsack said. “The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are taking action to advance a sustainable vision of agriculture that prioritizes the needs of our resilient producers and small businesses, strengthens our food supply chain and brings value back to rural people and places.”

Projects receive funding

Riverbend Meats will receive $25 million to help build an environmentally friendly beef processing plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Funds will be used to purchase custom equipment and install nine miles of mainline gas pipe. According to USDA, these improvements will double the plant’s capacity to 600 head per day.

Prestage Farms in Kershaw County, South Carolina will use a nearly $25 million grant to offset the costs of high-tech poultry processing equipment. European air-chilled technology allows the facility to increase turkey shelf life compared to traditional processing methods. The upgrades are expected to increase production to 8 million birds per year and create more than 290 full-time jobs.

CNF Enterprises will receive $3.3 million for a 30,000 square-foot processing facility in New Underwood, South Dakota. When complete, the facility will be able to process 4,000 head of beef, pork, lamb and buffalo per year.

Another $3.6 million grant will go toward expanding the Shenandoah Valley Organic chicken processing facility in Harrisonburg, Virginia. New equipment, conveyer lines, wastewater treatment systems and other site improvements are expected to nearly double the facility’s processing capacity to 630,000 birds per week. The increased capacity is also expected to create approximately 300 jobs.

Holly Poultry will receive $2 million to upgrade its and expand its Baltimore poultry processing facility. Those improvements are expected to add 200 jobs by 2025 and increase capacity by nearly 2,000 pounds per week.

This is the is third set of MPPEP grants announced by USDA in the past few months. In November 22 projects were awarded a combined $75 million in grants. That was followed by a $12 million investment in three projects this past January.

TAGS: Policy
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