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.

Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.