U.S. meat and poultry gets $21.9 million boost to expand supply chains

September 01, 2022 — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that additional funding of US$21.9 million is being awarded to 111 grant projects under the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program, bringing total funding to $54.6 million.

This year’s awards will fund projects in 37 states. The funding is intended to help strengthen and expand new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors across the United States.

“The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants will help meat and poultry processors make necessary improvements to facilities, grow their businesses, and strengthen the nation’s food supply chain,” he said. said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“These grants are part of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Initiatives and will contribute to our efforts to transform our food system.”

Modernization and expansion of meat operations
Examples of projects funded in this round include The Fork Food Lab, a shared-use kitchen incubator in Portland, Maine, which will use MPIRG funding to expand into a 42,000 square foot facility that meets requirements for a Federal Inspection Grant (GOI).

This year’s awards will fund projects in 37 states.

The project is helping Fork Food Lab procure specialized equipment, help five processors obtain federal GOIs for wholesale distribution, support start-up operations, and provide ongoing training and technical assistance to processors positioned for sale bulk.

The Wall Meat Processing Plant in the town of Wall, South Dakota, received MPIRG funding to purchase equipment to improve humane handling and enhance safety measures food and efficiency.

LG OK, a small local processing plant in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, will use MPIRG funding to modernize, expand and comply with food safety and inspection protocols. The funding will allow the factory to purchase new machinery to increase weekly production in a rural and low-access area.

“The USDA continues to build capacity and expand economic opportunity for small and medium meat and poultry producers across the country,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

Additional aid to the meat sector
Earlier this year, the USDA issued funds to combat anti-competitive practices in poultry and meat farming, while rolling out a set of initiatives to “make food prices fairer.”

Facility upgrades and expansions funded by the latest MPIRG move will further assist meat processors in obtaining a federal inspection grant or qualifying for a state’s cooperative interstate shipping program.

Obtaining a federal inspection grant or operating under a cooperative interstate shipping program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, develop new markets, increase capacity and better meet consumer and producer demand throughout the supply chain.

To continue these efforts, AMS also encourages MPIRG awardees and eligible participants in USDA Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Initiatives to apply for assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance (MPPTA).

Launched in March 2022, MPPTA connects participants to a national network of resources and expertise.

But as the USDA continues to step up its efforts to strengthen the animal protein sector, naysayers have criticized that regulatory policy has long overlooked the large carbon contributions from meat farming practices.

By Benjamin Ferrer

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