Investments here in Southern New England are Part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
Amherst MA, June 15, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is making investments that will create new and better markets for agricultural producers and food businesses in 19 states across rural America.
“The Biden Harris Administration and USDA are standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, more revenue streams and market opportunities which help bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Vilsack said. “We are partnering with entrepreneurs in rural areas to build brighter futures, connect business owners to new markets and create good jobs for generations to come. These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out and make our communities more resilient.”
USDA is making investments worth $320 million to strengthen food supply chains and create more opportunity for producers and entrepreneurs in 19 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Berkshire Agricultural Ventures' (BAV), located in Great Barrington, MA was awarded a USDA RD Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) Grant for $630,000.
“The MPILP award from the USDA is transformative,” said BAV Executive Director Rebecca Busansky. “It puts BAV in a unique position to continue to provide high-level support to regional meat processors that will increase their ability to meet food supply demands in financially and environmentally responsible ways. We are grateful the USDA recognizes the importance of our lending and technical assistance programs, and the resources we provide to meat processors and other regional food producers.”
The USDA grant will be used by BAV to provide support to farmers and food businesses in its service area by offering financing options, technical support, and business assistance.
“Pandemic caused supply chain disruptions and increasing demand for locally sourced meat and poultry have shined a bright light on the need for more resilient local food systems,” said Scott Soares, State Director for USDA RD Southern New England. “Thanks to historic investments by the Biden-Harris Administration, this MPILP award to Berkshire Agricultural Ventures will enable their continued support of our local producers and ultimately greater benefits to our consumers through improved access to locally sourced food.”
“Thanks to the MPILP award,” added Jake Levin, BAV’s Program Manager for Local Meat Processing Support, “BAV can significantly expand its services to meat processors in the Berkshire-Taconic foodshed and continue to play a major role in the impact of our regional agricultural economy. Our dedicated team is ready to assess the needs of food suppliers and empower their potential for growth.”
BAV’s service area includes Berkshire County, Massachusetts; Columbia and Dutchess Counties, New York; and Litchfield County, Connecticut.
USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are making these investments through four programs designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Food Supply Chain Loan program, Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural and Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.
The Food Supply Chain Guarantee Loan program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program is authorized under Section 1001 of the American Rescue Plan.
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to 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 MPILP is to strengthen the financing capacity of independent meat processors and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program was authorized by Section 751 of Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program helps improve rural economic health by increasing access to business capital, allowing commercial lenders, like banks and credit unions, to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. This program was authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, lend to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. This program is authorized by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans, loan guarantees 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.
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, 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.