USDA awards $223 million to increase meat processing capacity

Trying to create “more, better, and new markets” for U.S. producers, the Department of Agriculture has awarded a total of $223 million in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to expand meat processing capacity and poultry, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday. Increased competition would support farmers’ incomes, the USDA said.

The awards included $73 million in grants to 21 projects under the first cycle of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, $75 million to eight projects under the Interim Loan Program for meat and poultry and $75 million to four meat and poultry projects under the food supply program. On-chain secured loan program.

“By launching independent processing projects and increasing processing capacity, these investments are creating more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains, delivering more food produced closer to home for families, expanding economic opportunities and creating jobs in rural America,” Vilsack said.

Among the projects aided by USDA funding was the expansion of cattle slaughter by Greater Omaha Packing Co. 700 head per day. The company, based in Omaha, Nebraska, currently processes 2,400 head per day. Some 275 jobs would be added with the expansion.

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