USDA announced an additional $100 million investment into the food supply chain infrastructure last week. This funding is on top of the $500 million announced earlier this year and, according to USDA, will leverage hundreds of millions more in lending through community and private sector lenders to expand meat processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. Specifically, the funds will help finance mobile processing facilities and expansion of cold storage capacity, and help producers establish coops to brand or market their products.
“The pandemic accentuated a number of vulnerabilities within our supply chains - chiefly the choke point at the meatpacking sector, which has resulted in unsustainable prices for cattle producers and increased the cost of beef for consumers. This announcement is another step toward returning stability to the markets, and NCBA urges USDA to announce eligibility requirements and application instructions as quickly as possible,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane.
NCBA submitted comments earlier this year calling for federally guaranteed, low-interest loans and grants to be distributed to small meatpackers looking to expand, and new market entrants desiring to construct new regional small to mid-size processing plants.