USDA on Thursday announced that it is making available up to $215 million in grants and other support to “expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas,” according to USDA’s press release.

Announced exactly one year after President Biden signed the Executive Order 14017 “America’s Supply Chains,” the funding will be composed of $150 million in USDA Rural Development grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector, $40 million in USDA National Institute of Food Agriculture (NIFA) grants for workforce development and training, and $25 million in USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) funding to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.

The $150 million in USDA Rural Development funding will be pulled from the American Rescue Plan Act, the $2+ trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill passed in 2021. USDA is offering grants of up to $25 million each to expand processing capacity, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment. USDA “encourages applications that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, Tribes and tribal producers, socially disadvantaged producers, military veteran producers, and underserved communities.”

USDA has made additional information on the program available here.

The $40 million in USDA NIFA funding will be “through existing workforce development programs to provide a pipeline of well-trained workers to meet the demand for both current processors and increased independent processing capacity,” USDA said in its press release.

“The primary investment will be through competitive grants to support workforce training at community, junior, and technical colleges with programs specifically for meat and poultry processing.”

 

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