Despite emerging from a difficult two years, many operators are hungrier than ever for expansion. Supporting the success of United States suppliers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a significant investment. Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $32 million in grants awarded to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.
“Today’s investment supports local and regional meat and poultry processors as they recover from the pandemic and also work to expand capacity,” Vilsack said. “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, pursue new market opportunities, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain.”
The funding is expected to help meat and poultry processing businesses expand existing facilities; modernize processing equipment; and meet packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act. It will also support suppliers looking to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Ultimately, the changes will allow facilities to serve more customers in more markets.
MPIRG is a new program authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is jointly administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service. It is included in the USDA’s comprehensive funding package to help small processing facilities weather the pandemic, compete in the marketplace, and get the support they need to reach more customers.
In June 2021, USDA announced the availability of $55.2 million in MPIRG funding, accepting applications for a competitive grant award process which resulted in this investment. Remaining funds will be made available through a forthcoming request for applications, a press release stated. Please click here to learn more about MPIRG and see the list of awards.
We applaud the USDA on this landmark investment! Keep reading DMN for the industry’s latest announcements.