January 26, 2023

USDA announces funding for meat supply chain

USDA announces funding for meat supply chain

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will invest over $9.5 million to help diversify the nation’s meat supply. The funding comes with the goal of expanding market capacities and market opportunities, particularly in the meat and poultry sectors. The investments are made through 23 Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program grants, totaling $3.9 million, and 2 Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program grants, totaling $5.7 million. 

“USDA is putting the needs of farmers, ranchers, and consumers at the forefront of the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition,” USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said. “USDA has undertaken a department-wide approach to coordinate ways to deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for producers, to give people access to healthier foods, eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain and ultimately lower prices for consumers.”

The VAPG Program helps agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. VAPG is part of the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) which is an umbrella program created under the 2018 Farm Bill. The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program is a part of USDA’s Build Back Better initiative to strengthen critical supply chains and our food system. This program guarantees loans of up to $40 million for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects, specifically for the start-up or expansion of activities in the middle of the food supply chain. This program is fully funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Below are examples of the kinds of grants funded by this investment: 

  • Double M Dairy LLC, $150,000: This Rural Development investment will be used to offset processing, packaging, and supply costs, streamline employment opportunities, and increase marketing activities to promote the products sold directly to its customers. Double M Dairy looks to expand its customer base and market for high-quality beef, pork, and eggs to local individual consumers. This business serves an area spanning from Roanoke to Rocky Mount in the Southern Region of Virginia.

  • Oak Barn Beef LLC, $249,965: This Rural Development investment will be used to provide working capital for the processing of direct-to-consumer beef cuts, specifically the costs for processing, marketing materials, and distribution of the value-added product. The project is expected to increase revenue for the producer by $87,500, increase their customer base by 750 customers, and create or save two jobs.

See the full list of recipients here

The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) also announced an investment of $25 million to establish the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA). This program consists of a nationwide network to ensure that participants in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives have access to a full range of technical assistance to support their project development and success. 

The investment includes funding to the following areas:

  • Federal Grant Application Management: Navigating federal grants processes and procedures, from pre-award applications processes through post-award grant management compliance

  • Business Development and Financial Planning: Business and financial planning resources, market intelligence, and project/concept feasibility analyses

  • Meat and Poultry Processing Technical and Operation Support: Advice and resources to support the operational needs--including workforce development--of processing plant development and utilization

  • Supply Chain Development: Support for the development and maintenance of successful supply chain and marketing relationships—between suppliers, processors, distributors, and customers