Award is Part of More Than $223 Million in Grants and Loans Nationwide to Support Meat and Poultry Processors and Producers around the Country
OLYMPIA, November 2, 2022 – Island Grown Farmers Cooperative (IGFC) was awarded an $815,891 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the first round of its Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). IGFC, a small farmer owned co-op based in Skagit County, has operated a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) under USDA inspection for 20 years and recently began work on a permanent facility. The MPPEP grant will allow the cooperative to expand the number of animals processed and expand their cooperative membership to other producers.
"This is great news for local producers and provides more of our small farms a way to process livestock and bring their goods to market,” said Helen Price Johnson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. “The IGF application describes it well, ‘This project provides locally grown meats from small family farms in five rural counties in northwest Washington and will keep those farms thriving and able to pass on their legacy to the next generation.’ That's why this project is so exciting. Strengthening rural communities is a high priority for the Biden Administration."
Today’s announcement is part of $223 million investment in 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.
“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.”
Completing the construction at the IGFC facility will greatly expand processing capacity, and allow the producer owners to reach more consumers via farmers markets, food co-ops, restaurants, and direct to consumer sales across Washington State.
BACKGROUND: 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. 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.
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.
For more information about USDA Rural Development programs, visit the web at rd.usda.gov/wa