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USDA announces over 43 million dollars for meat and poultry research 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced over $43 million for meat and poultry processing research, innovation, and expansion. This funding comes as part of the American Rescue Plan and the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The investments are administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 

“Farmers rely on technology to become more efficient and profitable,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration and through historic funding investments, USDA continues to invest in research processing expansion that will create new and better markets and expand opportunities for small businesses and rural communities. This investment will help enable that vision.”

Twenty-five million dollars was granted to the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) and awarded to Wholestone Farms for a major plant expansion in Fremont, Nebraska. This grant was administered by USDA Rural Development. As part of this total investment, the University of Arkansas was awarded a $5 million grant from the AFRI Center of Excellence for Meat and Poultry Processing and Food Safety Research and Innovation (MPPFSRI). In addition, $13.9 million in grants from the Meat and Poultry Processing Research and Innovation, Small Business Innovation Research Phase III, program was awarded to 14 small and mid-sized meat and poultry processors. 

MPPEP provides grants to help eligible processors expand their capacity. USDA Rural Development designed the MPPEP to encourage competition and sustainable growth in American meat processing and to help improve supply chain resiliency. As part of the MPPFSRI Phase III funding investments, prior Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awardees with relevant technologies were invited to apply for this funding opportunity. Selected awardees must provide non-restrictive access or non-exclusive licenses to any technologies or related enabling technologies developed under this award to help small and mid-size processors implement the technology. 

Some of the awardees include:

  • Natural and non-toxic hyperthermoacidic enzyme cleaning and sanitization products meat and poultry processing: Cinder Biological Inc. San Leandro, California
  • Rechargeable antimicrobial coating for poultry and meat processing facilities: Halomine Inc. Ithaca, New York
  • Edge-computing driven automation for small and medium poultry and meat processors: Cirrus360 Richmond, Texas

“Investments like these will deliver long-term improvements in meat and poultry processing practices to benefit consumers, farmers, and the environment,” said Vilsack. “We are excited to see how these investments will generate solutions that benefit all Americans.”

See the full list of MPPFSRI Phase III projects here