U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $20.6 million in 2 grant projects in Nebraska through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Today’s announcement delivers on President Biden’s commitments 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.”
In Nebraska, two projects are receiving funding from the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program:
• The Greater Omaha Packing Company of Omaha, NE is receiving $19,982,400 from MPPEP. Greater Omaha Packing is a 3rd generation, privately owned company that procures cattle primarily from independent producers in IA and NE. They process 2,400 heads of cattle daily for customers across the country and to 70 nations worldwide. The company is taking a phased approach to increase slaughter and processing throughput from 2,400 cattle per day to 3,100 head per day, which equates to an additional annual production of 195,000 cattle per year, involving equipment purchases, automation systems, and facility improvements. The expansion will create 275 jobs.
• Lot 279, LLC of Wisner, NE is receiving $688,011 from MPPEP. Lot 279, LLC has been selling beef products in direct-to-consumer retail since 2016. In an effort to capitalize on the expanding interest in family farms building their own beef brands, Lot 279 intends to build a federal inspection portion cutting and further processing facility for use by at least three family-owned cattle producers who seek to create their own brands of value-added beef products. The company will provide fee based processing and other services; portioning and grinding services, processing, and manufacturing of meats for sale to wholesale or retail customers. Lot 279 will ensure that small and mid-sized kill facilities are fully utilized.
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 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. To view the full list of current MPPEP awardees, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/11-02-2022-Food-Systems-Transformation-Chart-OSEC.pdf.
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.