USDA’s $200 million will boost food supply chain (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Adam Cyr is a public information officer with Virginia Rural Development.)
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the USDA has made available $200 million to strengthen the food supply chain and create opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural communities.
Today’s funding opportunity is one of many ways USDA is transforming the nation’s food system through a more equitable, diverse and resilient meat and poultry supply chain.
“For too long, farmers and ranchers have seen the value and the opportunities they work so hard to create move away from the rural communities where they live and operate,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,
The USDA is committed to making investments that promote competition — helping support economic systems where the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas — and strengthening rules and enforcement against anticompetitive practices.
The funding we’re announcing today ultimately will help us give farmers and ranchers a fair shake, strengthen supply chains, and make food prices fairer.”
Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program
USDA Rural Development is making $200 million available through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program. The USDA will provide grants of up to $15 million to nonprofit lenders, including private nonprofits, cooperatives, public agencies and tribal entities.
These intermediaries will use this funding to establish a revolving loan fund to finance a variety of activities related to meat and poultry processing.
For example, businesses may use the loans to acquire land, build or expand facilities and modernize equipment.
When loans are repaid, intermediaries can make additional loans to support activities throughout the middle of the food supply chain. This funding can help businesses aggregate, process, manufacture, store, transport, wholesale and distribute food.
The design of MPILP was informed by the other active programs that are part of the Biden Administration’s Action Plan to Build a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain.
Grants are available through two application cycles. Today, USDA is making available $75 million through the first application period. All application materials can be found at www.rd.usda.gov/mpilp or at www.Grants.gov.
Applications for the first round of funding must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on July 25, 2022, through www.Grants.gov.
USDA will announce the application period for the remaining $125 million in the coming months.
USDA offers priority points to projects that advance key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, advance equity and combat climate change.
These extra points will increase the likelihood of funding for projects seeking to address these critical challenges in rural America.
For additional information, visit: www.rd.usda.gov/mpilp. Questions may be submitted through the website or sent to MPILP@usda.gov.
Credit Ready Meat and Poultry Lending Initiative
USDA Rural Development, in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Impact Finance at the Carsey School of Public Policy, also is announcing the Credit Ready Meat and Poultry Lending Initiative.
This initiative will provide training and peer support to lenders interested in developing or expanding their capacity to finance projects in the meat and poultry processing sector. This opportunity will be available to all interested lenders, though recipients of MPILP grants will be given priority so they can more effectively deploy capital and support businesses engaged in processing. Approximately 30 lenders will be selected for the intensive training module.
Lenders with experience financing the meat and poultry processing sector can help develop the curriculum for the initiative. Such lenders may submit requested information through a public Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process that will be announced in the coming weeks. Interested parties can sign up for updates on the RFQ release date and instructions for submissions.
Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Supporting American Farmers and Ranchers
This funding announcement follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement last fall about the steps it is taking to address concentration in the meat-processing industry and the January 2022 announcement about an Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. Visit www.usda.gov/meat for more information.