NSAC's Blog


Release: NSAC Applauds First Round of Investments to Expand Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

November 3, 2022


For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Zaks

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

lzaks@sustainableagriculture.net 

Release: NSAC Applauds First Round of Investments to Expand Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

Key Investments Pave the Way for a Fairer Future

Washington, DC, November 3, 2022 –– Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first round of new, historic investments to increase competition and expand meat and poultry processing capacity.  The Biden-Harris Administration is investing $73 million in 21 grant projects through this initial round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) – a program which aims to increase options for livestock producers, promote competition across the economy, and lower costs for American families. 

“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds these initial efforts to invest in our small and very small meat processing sector, and USDA’s dedication to integrating stakeholder input on these programs. In the future, we hope to see even greater alignment in supporting small meat processors across USDA’s agencies and services,” said Connor Kippe, NSAC Policy Specialist. 

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, doing much to increase the resilience of the meat processing sector. The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program has helped many 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. 

At the same time that USDA’s Rural Development agency and Agricultural Marketing Service are focusing on distributing much needed assistance to small and very small processors, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed a regulatory framework to continue to decrease the presence of salmonella found in poultry that may impose greater cost and logistical burdens on these small and very small processors. While small and very small processors continue to champion food safety, they face unique constraints in adapting to new regulations given their lower personnel capacity and tighter budgets. Making sure that processors have both the capacity to respond to changes, and that FSIS acts proactively so as to ensure scale-appropriate regulations that do not create a disproportionate burden on small and very small processors, is key to the expansion and resilience of these businesses that are so vital to rural communities. Continuing this expansion of markets and plant capacity programs are key to sustaining this investment, and helping processors reduce new food safety issues as they arise. 

The Strengthening Local Processors Act helps address many of these concerns. It would maintain some of these plant expansion grants, and also address gaps in workers’ skill level in order to comply with food safety regulations. The bill does so with an eye towards equity in the dispersal of the funding for these programs. 

“We look forward to continued rounds of funding and hope they will be even more precisely targeted towards very small processors in historically underserved communities. We are eager to continue working with USDA across its services to develop a fairer, more competitive, and more resilient meat processing system,” Kippe added.  

###

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


Categories: Grants and Programs, Press Releases, Sustainable Livestock


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Archives