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USDA invests $43 million to improve meat and poultry processing

The USDA is investing more than $43 million toward meat and poultry processing research, expansion and innovation.

The funding is through the American Rescue Plan and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative in an effort to transform the food supply chain.

As part of the investment, a $25 million grant is being awarded to Wholestone Farms for a major plant expansion in Freemont, Nebraska. The project will allow the cooperative, owned by 195 independent pork producers, to begin second shift operations and double processing capacity.

The University of Arkansas is being awarded a $5 million grant to incorporate research to promote technological innovation and decrease industry barriers to safety and processing.

Additionally, $13.9 million in grants are going to 14 small and mid-sized processors including:

  • Taza Aya LLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan to fund more resilient domestic food infrastructure and protect workers from transferable diseases during meat and poultry processing.
  • Biotronics, Inc. in Ames, Iowa to increase market opportunities for small and mid-size packing plants by identifying superior pork quality using ultrasound
  • Industry Vision Automation Corporation ins Gaithersburg, Maryland with a focus on artificial intelligence and robotics to increase capabilities and efficiencies of poultry production

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the funds “will deliver long-term improvements in meat and poultry processing practices to benefit consumers, farmers and the environment”.

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