USA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to invest up to US$215 million to strengthen food supply chains in the country.
The funds, provided in form of grants and other support, will be used to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas.
The meat and poultry sector will be allocated up to US$150 million in grants by the USDA Rural Development to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector.
An additional US$40 million will be provided by USDA’s National Institute of Food for workforce development and training.
The primary investment will be through competitive grants to support workforce training at community, junior and technical colleges with programs specifically for meat and poultry processing.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will, on the other hand, provide US$25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.
Additional grants of up to US$25m are also on offer for entities that want to expand processing capacity through a variety of activities, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment.
These new opportunities are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to fight monopolization and promote competition across the economy.
They follow the Biden-Harris Administration’s September 2021 announcement about the steps it is taking to address concentration in the meat-processing industry.
It also follows USDA’s December 2021 announcement of US$100 million for guaranteed loans on top of the previously announced US$500 million investment to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.
Earlier, USDA said that it is injecting an additional US$80 million into the dairy industry in an effort to build capacity and enhance long-term resilience of the sector.
The funds are being channeled into the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiatives to support dairy businesses in the development, production, marketing and distribution of dairy products.
Apart from investments, the Biden-Harris administration has also put together a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force co-chaired by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The task force brings together industry, labor and federal partners to address the short-term supply chain disruptions arising from the Administration’s economic recovery.
The initiative will support key supply chain infrastructure investments to expand and scale existing capacity, as well as support long-term investments in new operations.
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