BOZEMAN, Mont., Feb. 24, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making available up to $215 million in grants and other support to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas.
“Today’s funding announcement, which includes the expansion of meat and poultry processing options, provides more opportunities for Montana’s agricultural businesses to keep resources, money and our supply chain local,” said USDA Rural Development Montana’s State Director, Kathleen Williams. “Montana’s farmers and ranchers have worked hard for generations to deliver food produced closer to home. These new initiatives are meant to keep jobs intact and encourage further economic opportunities in the communities where we live and operate.”
USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will provide another $40 million for workforce development and training, and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide $25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.
Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program
USDA Rural Development is making $150 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). USDA is offering grants of up to $25 million each to expand processing capacity through a variety of activities, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment.
USDA encourages applications that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, Tribes and tribal producers, socially disadvantaged producers, military veteran producers, and underserved communities.
USDA will host two informational webinars to provide information on MPPEP. The first, Feb. 28 at 12 p.m. Mountain Time, will provide an overview of the program.
The second, March 7 at 12 p.m. Mountain Time, will cover application requirements.
For additional information, applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to visit the MPPEP website: www.rd.usda.gov/mppep. Questions may be submitted through the website or sent to MPPEP@usda.gov.
Meat and Poultry Processing Workforce Development
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will invest an additional $40 million through existing workforce development programs to provide a pipeline of well-trained workers to meet the demand for both current processors and increased independent processing capacity. The primary investment will be through competitive grants to support workforce training at community, junior and technical colleges with programs specifically for meat and poultry processing. A Request for Applications will be published in April 2022. Additional investments will leverage existing regional USDA education and Extension networks and establish new, or supplement select existing, Centers of Excellence at Minority-serving Institutions focused on meat and poultry research, education and training. Each of these investments is designed to deliver needed support more quickly. Additional investments, either through the same or new programs and partnerships, are expected later this year. To sign up for notifications of these and other NIFA funding opportunities, visit the NIFA website.
Meat and Poultry Processing Technical Assistance USDA also is helping to ensure that entities proposing independent meat and poultry processing projects through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) have full service technical assistance support from application through post-award. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide approximately $25 million in American Rescue Plan funding to establish partnerships with organizations that will provide technical assistance to MPPEP applicants, recent recipients and future applicants of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program, and to entities who require general guidance and resources on meat and poultry processing. Of the $25 million, AMS will utilize $10 million to implement the first phase of support by establishing an initial technical assistance network and lead coordinator. More information about the technical assistance is available at the Meat and Poultry Supply Chain website.
USDA’s one-year supply chain report, also published today, assesses the opportunities, including today’s significant investment in the meat and poultry sector, that USDA, other Federal agencies and Congress have made over the long-term to infuse stability, improve equity, diversify and expand infrastructure and markets, and transform the food system.
USDA Rural Development is an investor, ally, and advocate for rural America and provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for Americans living and working 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 http://www.rd.usda.gov/mt.