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New USDA Grants Intended to Boost Beef and Poultry Industries

June 23, 2021 by Brock Blasdell
Beef cattle. (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Agriculture is offering $55.2 million in competitive grants to help foster healthier beef and poultry industries, while also expanding opportunities for small and midsized processors to grow.

The funding follows an announcement by the USDA earlier this month that $4 billion would be invested to secure and strengthen America’s food supply chains under the Biden administration’s Build Back Better initiative. 

“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a written statement. “Through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act.”

The new program, dubbed the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program, has six goals: To improve meat slaughter and processing capabilities; to develop new markets and expand existing ones; to improve capacity to meet rising consumer and producer demands; to maintain food inspection and safety standards; to improve commercial capabilities; and to increase access to slaughter and processing facilities for small farms, disadvantaged communities and veteran communities. 

Applications for grant funding through the MPIRG are open to existing commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises.

The grant program has two projects designated to help different sectors of the American food industry. The first, through the Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection project, is designed to provide already functioning processing facilities with the tools necessary to pass Federal inspection.

The second, through the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Compliance project, is designed to help processing facilities operating under the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) CIS program in Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin meet the requirements for shipping meat across state and national borders. 

Applications for funding under the MPIRG program must be submitted electronically to the federal government’s official grant website by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, August 2, 2021.

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