For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Release: New Grant Programs Offer Targeted Funding for Food Sovereignty and Local Processing
NSAC Applauds Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program and Local Meat Capacity Grant Program
Washington, DC, April 19, 2023 – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program and the Local Meat Capacity Grant Program, aimed towards increasing the resilience of local food systems and investing in indigenous food sovereignty. $50 million will be available for the Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat processing grant program, and $75 million for the Local Meat Capacity Grant Program, both with application deadlines on July 19, 2023.
Several meat and poultry programs were previously announced as part of The Biden-Harris Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, efforts to increase the resilience of the meat processing sector. The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program has helped many processing plants expand their markets, enhancing their ability to participate in interstate commerce, while the Meat and Poultry Plant Expansion Program and Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending have helped expand the capacity of the plants themselves.
“NSAC is extremely pleased to see USDA focus its efforts specifically on supporting small meat and poultry processors, that will more fully reinvest in rural communities, and that can serve farmers who utilize the sustainable practices needed to promote resilient food systems,” said Connor Kippe, NSAC policy specialist. “It is critical that government funding goes towards the processing plants that need it most, not toward the largest processors or former subsidiaries of the Big 4 meatpackers that do little to increase competition in the American meat sector.”
The Strengthening Local Processing Act (SLPA) offers a pathway to sustain these types of investments and ensure that continued investments include expanded resources, skilled workforces, and markets that will make sure the investments yield impacts on-the-ground. SLPA would maintain some of these small plant expansion grants and would also address gaps in worker skill level needed for more value-added production or more diverse processing needs. The bill does so with an eye towards equity in the dispersal of the funding for these programs. NSAC is advocating for the Farm Bill to sustain these kinds of programs that both invest in local meat processing capacity generally, and specifically support indigenous communities.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net