Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is investing $73 million in 21 projects through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. Vilsack says the funds distributed under the program are intended to help increase production capacity across the supply chain.
“Increase competition and expand capacity, strengthen the supply chain, make sure that we fostered a producer-focused business model, strengthen local and regional food systems, reduce barriers to processing, did things at-scale, help to create jobs, and over time, lower costs for consumers by expanding choice. At USDA, we’ve been focused for the last nine months on developing more, new, and better markets for our producers. And certainly, by expanding capacity and competition, I think we, in fact, are, in essence, creating more, new, and better markets for producers.”
The funding will also get used to help jumpstart independent processing projects.
“This required a comprehensive approach. As we approached this, it required programs that would provide resources for new and expanded capacity and markets, provide resources for strengthening the supply chain between the farmer and the consumer, and making sure that there was the availability of credit when the opportunities or circumstances required it. We announced awards supporting all three aspects of this approach in the President’s plan for fair and competitive markets.”
He says these investments will create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price for what they produce. Strengthening supply chains and delivering more food produced closer to home for families will help lower the cost of food at local grocery stores.