New USDA Grant Program to Increase Processing Capacity

Brian German Dairy & Livestock, Industry

Processing Capacity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new grant opportunity intended to enhance meat and poultry processing capacity. A total of $55.2 million is being made available through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. Funding for the new competitive grant program is being made possible by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Applications for the new program will need to be submitted online by August 2.

“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “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, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.”

USDA is seeking applications for improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency. The program also focuses on applications for enhancing market opportunities, addressing consumer and producer demand, and increasing access for small and beginning farmers. USDA is also encouraging grant applications that focus on maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards and obtaining a larger commercial presence.

MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection (PFGI) project is designed for processing facilities that are currently in operation and working toward Federal inspection. Eligibility for the PFGI covers the entire United States and territories. MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Compliance project is for applicants working toward CIS compliance. Eligibility for the CIS is limited to facilities located in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service CIS program.

Eligible facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has instructional videos available to assist potential applicants to navigate the Request for Application. Grant management specialists are also available to address any questions or concerns about the application process.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West