The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to strengthen the food supply chain through the Build Back Better initiative. More than $4 billion will be invested to ensure the resilience and fairness of the food system. Funding for the initiative is made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act as well as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The effort is intended to bolster all sectors within the entire food supply chain.
“The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers, and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “I am confident USDA’s investments will spur billions more in leveraged funding from the private sector and others as this initiative gains traction across the country.”
The Build Back Better initiative focuses on four key areas of the food system. Efforts will strengthen food production, food processing, food distribution and aggregation, and markets and consumers. USDA will be providing direct assistance, grants, training, and technical assistance to support producers. Investments will also be made to expand overall processing capacity in the U.S. In response to the major disruptions created by COVID-19, investments will also be made in food system infrastructure to provide more flexibility. USDA will also work to support increased access to markets for producers and ensure consumer access to healthy foods.
The initiative seeks to address both near- and long-term issues within the supply chain. Build Back Better investments also take a targeted approach to the meat sector. USDA will work to increase transparency and competition in livestock markets and meat processing. As emphasis is being placed on the lack of small meat processing facilities.