USDA doles out $9.5M to expand independent meat processing

By Staff
2 Min Read

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday distributed $9.5 million to small meat and poultry processors to help expand their operations and better compete with large meatpackers.

The agency said 42 projects received grants ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 under the Local Meat Capacity program, also known as Local MCap. Processors will use the funding to buy equipment such as meat grinders, stuffers, and smokers.

“The Local Meat Capacity grants are addressing critical processing infrastructure needs for local and regional livestock and poultry producers, ensuring their products get to market efficiently and cost-effectively, which supports local economies, new jobs, and more choices for consumers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. 

Award winners include Nordik Meats, a small meat processing facility in Southwest Wisconsin, that will use funding for a grinder, meatball maker, and packaging equipment. The grant allows the company to increase the number of livestock processed annually by 100% over two years, benefiting 350 local small family farms, according to the USDA.

The Local MCap program, first announced in April 2023, includes up to $75 million for equipment and processing expansion projects. The awards are part of a larger, $1 billion commitment to increase competition in meat and poultry markets through a variety of grant programs.

Other grant programs include funding for innovation, workforce development, food safety modernization and logistics improvements.

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