Legislators call on USDA to increase accessibility for meat grant program

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has sent a letter to the USDA outlining ways to better create access to newly announced meat processing grant program.

The representatives led by Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. are asking the USDA to ensure small and regional processors can access the $500 million grant program, while creating more financing options.

Earlier this month, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA would allocate $500 million into expanding the nation’s meat processing capacity.

The letter asks USDA to implement a small plant infrastructure program, offer scalable financing options and expand outreach to stakeholders that facilitate local food processing.

The letter says the “investments will provide leverage for producers at all levels of the supply chain” including industries that are less vertically integrated.

It was also signed by the following Brownfield state representatives: Troy Balderson, R-OH, Randy Feenstra, R-IA, James Baird, R-IN, Cindy Axne, R-IA, Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, Michelle Fischbach, R-MN, Betty McCollum, D-MN, Adrian Smith, R-NE, Robert Latta, R-OH, Warren Davidson, R-OH, and Pete Stauber, R-MN.

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