U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $7 Million in 1 grant project in Louisiana through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Yesterday’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.”
Processors LLC is one of the earliest pioneers in the U.S. catfish industry, incorporated in 1976. The company currently operates at maximum processing capacity for farm-raised catfish. The project would allow Processor's Inc. to increase processing capacity by 30% over the next four years by adding a new facility, modernizing processing equipment with more cost-effective, sanitary, and environmentally neutral equipment, and allow for market expansion through the development of new value-added catfish products.
“The MPPEP is a win-win for the wonderful community of Breaux Bridge and Louisiana’s food infrastructure,” said State Executive Director for Farm Service Agency Ronald Guidry, Jr. “One of The Biden - Harris Administration goals is to Build Back Better by supercharging local economies by supporting small businesses, existing farmers, and beginning farmers and ranchers. Processors LLC has the opportunity to enhance and sustain its operation with the awarded funds, and I’m all eyes watching them grow!”
Everyone is encouraged to look into the many opportunities within the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Rural Development. Stop by your local USDA Service Centers and take part in helping to feed your local community. 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.
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to nonprofit intermediary lenders who finance – or plan to finance – the start-up, expansion, or operation of slaughter, or other processing of meat and poultry. The objective of the MPILP is to strengthen the financing system for independent meat processors, and to create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. In the first round of MPILP $75 million was awarded to eight lenders in seven states. Applications for second cycle ($125 million) are currently being accepted and are due December 31, 2022.
Through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program (FSCGLP), USDA partners with lenders to guarantee loans to help eligible entities expand meat and poultry processing capacity and strengthen the U.S. food supply chain. Lenders provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies and people in rural and urban areas. Since the FSCGLP was launched in December 2021, more than $250 million in loans have been guaranteed for projects in the middle of the food supply chain. Four of these, announced today and totaling more than $75 million, are for meat and poultry processing businesses.
Yesterday’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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