Biden-Harris Administration Announces $1.4 Million through the American Rescue Plan to Increase and Expand Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity in Mississippi
Part of More Than $223 Million in Grants and Loans Nationwide to Support 32 Independent Processing Projects to Build Capacity and Increase Economic Opportunities for Meat and Poultry Processors and Producers around the Country
OMAHA, November 2, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $1.4 million in two grant projects in Mississippi through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Today’s announcement of $223 million for meat and processing programs nationwide delivers on President Biden‘s commitments through the American Rescue Plan to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, which in turn increases competition, supports producer income, strengthens the food supply chain, and creates jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. These announcements support the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain.
“Since President Biden laid out a commitment at the start of this year, USDA has worked tirelessly to give farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “By jumpstarting independent processing projects and increasing processing capacity, these investments create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains, delivering more food produced closer to home for families, expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in rural America.”
“The Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program will provide tremendous help to our local ranchers and producers,” said Dr. Trina N. George, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Mississippi. “By expanding capacity and increasing efficiencies in the supply chain, we hope to create more jobs in Mississippi communities and reduce costs to families while supporting local businesses.”
- Cutting Edge Meat Company will use a $905,273 investment to establish a new USDA inspected slaughter and fabrication plant in Leakesville, Mississippi. Separate coolers will be added for fully cooked and raw products, new rooms will be added for packaging and cooking products, and additional equipment will be purchased to increase production and improve worker safety along with hiring new employees to staff the facility. The company processes its own farm-raised beef, plus beef and pork from independent producers across Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida, and currently has a six-month backlog for additional processing. This investment will increase weekly processing capacity and expand services offered to farmer-producers and small meat companies in the region.
- Home Place Pastures will use a $508,784 investment to substantially increase cold storage and processing, allowing them to significantly expand their business while also adding value to small family farms by providing a premium reliable market for pasture raised hogs. Home Place Pastures currently owns and operates a USDA inspected slaughter and processing facility in the middle of its farming operation, which produces grass-fed beef and pastured pork, and runs an established weekly distribution chain to restaurants, schools, hospitals, and retail accounts in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The company also sells direct to consumers through their website, monthly box subscribers, on-farm restaurant and butcher shop, and farmers markets.
MPPEP was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. Today’s announcement is the first round of funding made available through Phase I of MPEPP. Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. USDA will also soon begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million, for a total of up to $375 million to provide gap financing for independent processing plant projects that fill a demonstrated need for more diversified processing capacity. For more information about MPPEP, click here.
Today’s announcement is one of many actions that USDA is taking to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive, and resilient for American farmers and ranchers, and builds upon the Department’s efforts to transform the nation’s food system. Additional information on all these programs is available at usda.gov/meat.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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