Historic Investments: USDA to expand meat and poultry processing

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $200 million to expand meat and poultry processing in 17 states.

The funds will come in the form of grants and loans, and will also be used to address supply chain issues. Secretary Vilsack shares how much of an increase in processing we can expect.

“I think it’s going to expand capacity in beef, pork, and mixed processing by over 500,000 head per year. We think it will expand the capacity in poultry by nearly 34 million birds per year. We anticipate and expect over 1,100 jobs to help to be created on an ongoing operational basis, and that doesn’t include the construction jobs that will go as a result of the expansion and construction of new facilities. If you look at the distribution of the grants, then you’re going to see that we go from Washington state to Vermont, from Texas to North Dakota, and from California to Louisiana. So, we’re excited about that opportunity,” said Sec. Vilsack.

He adds that the goal is to assist small to medium size operations.

“These are not large, large, large scale production facilities. These are small to mid-sized production facilities, and that was the sole purpose of this project... This effort that the President launched was to basically create greater and local regional capacity, not getting into the large production facility but basically bolstering the current capacity by having a multitude of opportunities across the country for producers to choose from. And so anticipate as great a challenge on the workforce side as I would if we were talking about 20 some very, very large production facilities,” Sec Vilsack explains.

He says that this will help level the playing field, ease supply chain issues, and create more jobs in rural America.

Additional rounds of grants will be announced in the coming weeks to address gap financing for independent processing plants.

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