June 29, 2023
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Smaller meat and poultry operators in 17 states will receive $115 million in grants, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.
The USDA grants are the latest in a series of awards the Biden administration has made that are intended to increase meat and poultry processing, benefiting farmers and providing more job opportunities in largely rural areas.
“While American farmers and ranchers have been responding to the demand to produce more, their communities have struggled to see their share of the benefits,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement ahead of a meeting Thursday morning in Des Moines with producers and business owners. The participants were expected to talk with Vilsack about ways to strengthen and market farm and food businesses.
The funding includes 10 awards to recipients in 12 states totaling $77 million through a program that finances the start-up or expansion of meat and poultry processing plants. The awards include $15 million to Mountain West Economic Development in Montana to expand slaughterhouse operations in the state’s Flathead Valley, and $800,000 that will go toward the Farmers Union Foundation for smaller processors in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The USDA made five awards totaling $38 million through a slaughterhouse expansion program that will help independent producers in five states.
Projects receiving funding are in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.