Millen, Ga., January 30, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and State Director Reggie A. Taylor today participated in the groundbreaking for the nation’s first USDA Meat and Poultry Facility Loan under the new USDA Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP). The loan is being made from an initial $7.5 million grant awarded by the Biden-Harris Administration to establish the Georgia Meat and Poultry Processing Facility Revolving Loan Fund. The program is being delivered in Georgia by Augusta-based nonprofit CSRA Business Lending that has been a long-time lending partner with USDA.
“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to making sure farmers get a fair portion of the food dollar and creating a vibrant rural economy where everyone can build a secure and successful future,” Torres Small said. “We’re proud of partnerships and projects like this one that will strengthen our nation’s food supply chain, bring good-paying jobs to rural Georgia and create opportunities for farmers and ranchers now and for generations to come.”
Today’s groundbreaking was for 920 Cattle in Millen, Georgia, owned by Jarrod and Becca Creasy, to renovate their existing processing facility and add a 12,000 square foot addition, expanding the regions processing capacity for livestock producers. The facility will also sell direct to consumers through their new retail shop that will be on site and open to the public.
Today’s announcement 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.
CSRA Business Lending through one of its four lending companies (CSRA Rural Lending Authority) was awarded a $7.5 million grant that they will match with $750,000 of their own funds to address the state’s food supply issues. CSRA is currently Georgia’s largest USDA Intermediary Lender currently targeting small business loans since 1991 at rural areas of Georgia. This new program will expand access to financing for meat and poultry processing statewide in the near term and will build financing capacity for that purpose longer term by allowing CSRA to retain the repayment of the initial loans they make to finance new processing facilities perpetually on a revolving basis.
MPILP was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program 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.
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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