The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment of $9.6 million across the country to help farmers, ranchers, processors and rural businesses diversify the nation’s meat supply.
“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,” said agency secretary Tom Vilsack. “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.”
Secretary Vilsack announced 25 new projects increase independent meat processing capacity, including an investment in Five Marys Farms, an independent producer of beef, pork and lamb in Siskiyou County. An anticipated expansion of customer base in the amount of 60,784 is expected as a result of the project.
The USDA is awarding 23 Value Added Producer Grant program grants totaling $3.9 million to help producer-owned companies process and market new products. USDA is also providing guarantees for a total of $5.7 million in loans to two companies through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program using American Rescue Plan funding. This program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution.