U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making investments that will create new and better markets for agricultural producers and food businesses in 19 states across rural America.
“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, more revenue streams and market opportunities which help bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Secretary Vilsack said. “We are partnering with entrepreneurs in rural areas to build brighter futures, connect business owners to new markets and create good jobs for generations to come. These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and middle out and make our communities more resilient.”
USDA is making investments worth $320 million to strengthen food supply chains and create more opportunities for producers and entrepreneurs in 19 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. For example:
- In the Midwest, family-owned businesses, like a meat market and a bison processing facility, will expand their production capabilities, maintain the highest quality control possible and save jobs.
- In the Northeast, a local, innovative greenhouse facility will be able to grow salad greens year-round in a hydroponic environment.
- In the South, food supply chain businesses, like a berry processor, will purchase equipment to expand production capacity for their businesses.
- And in the West, a plant-based yogurt manufacturer and a cold storage facility will support resilience in the supply chain and expand sustainable options for consumers.
USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are making these investments through four programs designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program, Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural and Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.
The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program is authorized under Section 1001 of the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to intermediary lenders who finance – or plan to finance – the start-up, expansion or operation of slaughter, or other processing of meat and poultry. The objective of MPILP is to strengthen the financing capacity of independent meat processors and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program was authorized by Section 751 of Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program helps improve rural economic health by increasing access to business capital, allowing commercial lenders, like banks and credit unions, to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. This program was authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, lend to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. This program is authorized by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.