WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service on Tuesday announced an additional $21.9 million in funding awarded to 111 grant projects through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program, bringing total funding to $54.6 million.
This year’s awards will fund projects in 37 states. The funding will help strengthen and develop new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors throughout the United States. To further these efforts, AMS is also encouraging MPIRG awardees and eligible participants in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives to request assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA). Launched in March 2022, MPPTA connects participants to a nationwide network of resources and expertise.
“The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants will help meat and poultry processors make necessary facility improvements, expand their businesses, and strengthen the nation’s food supply chain,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These grants are one part of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives and will contribute to our efforts to transform our food system.”
“USDA continues to build capacity and increase economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry producers across the country,” added Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
Examples of projects funded this round include:
- Homegrown LG OK, a small processing plant in Locust Grove, Okla., will use MPIRG funding to modernize, expand, and comply with Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) protocols. The funding will allow the plant to purchase new machines to increase weekly production in a rural and low access area.
- The Fork Food Lab, a shared-use kitchen incubator in Portland, Maine, will utilize MPIRG funding to expand into a 42,000-sq-ft facility that meets the requirements for a Federal Grant of Inspection (GOI). The project is helping Fork Food Lab procure specialized equipment, assist five processors obtain Federal GOIs for wholesale distribution, support startup operations, and provide ongoing training and technical assistance to processors positioned for wholesale.
- The Wall Meat Processing plant in Wall, S.D, has been awarded MPIRG funding to purchase equipment to improve humane handling and enhance food safety measures and efficiencies. The project will help the plant seamlessly deliver service operations in protein manufacturing to their producers and customers under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping program (CIS). Participating in the CIS program will open the plant to larger markets and add another resource to the food supply chain.
Facility improvements and expansions funded through MPIRG will help processors obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or qualify for a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, develop new markets, increase capacity, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain.
MPIRG recipients and other eligible participants, especially small and underserved stakeholders, in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives are encouraged to take advantage of the broad technical assistance offered through MPPTA. AMS has cooperative agreements with six organizations to form the MPPTA network, which has already provided valuable assistance to over 300 businesses and organizations across the U.S. and its territories since its launch earlier this year.