U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $73 million investment in 21 grant projects through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). The MPPEP aims to increase competition across the economy to help lower costs for American families, and this announcement is expected to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, which in turn is expected to increase competition, supports producer income and strengthen the food supply chain to lower costs. Additionally, $75 million will be invested in eight projects through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, as well as more than $75 million for four meat- and poultry-related projects through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program.
These investments are part of a series of financial assistance tools to support producers and lenders in increasing capacity in the food supply chain.
MPPEP was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. The announcement from Vilsack is the first round of funding made available through Phase I of MPEPP. Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. The USDA says it will soon begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million, for a total of up to $375 million, to provide gap financing for independent processing plant projects that fill a demonstrated need for more diversified processing capacity. For more information about MPPEP, view the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program page.
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to nonprofit intermediary lenders who finance—or plan to finance—the startup, expansion or operation of slaughter or other processing of meat and poultry. The objective of the MPILP is to strengthen the financing system for independent meat processors, and to create a more resilient, diverse and secure the U.S. food supply chain. In the first round of MPILP $75 million was awarded to eight lenders in seven states. Applications for second cycle ($125 million) are currently being accepted and are due December 31, 2022.
Through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program (FSCGLP), the USDA partners with lenders to guarantee loans to help eligible entities expand meat and poultry processing capacity and strengthen the U.S. food supply chain. Lenders provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies and people in rural and urban areas. Since the FSCGLP was launched in December 2021, more than $250 million in loans have been guaranteed for projects in the middle of the food supply chain. Four of these, totaling more than $75 million, are for meat and poultry processing businesses.