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USDA Announces Grants For Ag Industry

During a press conference call, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the investment of $9.6 million across the country to help the agriculture industry diversify the nation’s meat supply.

“We’re looking at a creative, comprehensive effort to expand marketing opportunities for meat and poultry,” Vilsack said during the conference call on Thursday, Jan. 5.

He added that goals include more income for farmers, more choice for consumers and additional jobs in the economy.

The announcement included the awarding of 23 recipients through the value-added producer grant program totaling $3.9 million.

One of the recipients was Todd Family Meats in Big Timber. Todd Family Meats will receive a $48,173 grant to increase its production of packaged beef and lamb to meet growing demand.

Vilsack said the family- owned company will also use the funds for marketing, packaging and processing.

He noted that previously five other Montana recipients were announced as part of the value-added producer grant program.

Vilsack noted the goal is to assists farmers, especially small and medium size producers, in figuring out new approaches to earn additional income.

Other states with recipients included California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“We are just in the beginning processes of things. We’re excited, we think we will see some results,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack also highlighted some of USDA’s accomplishments to date to support meat producers, promote competition and strengthen local and regional food supply chains. Last January, Vilsack joined President Biden at the White House to launch the Biden-Harris Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain — part of USDA’s efforts to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.

He noted that under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has provided $54.6 million to 278 businesses and individuals through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program for strengthening and developing new market opportunities for U.S. meat and poultry processors.

To further these efforts, AMS also invested up to $25 million to establish the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program.

This program consists of a nationwide network to ensure that participants in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives have access to a full range of technical assistance to support their project development and success.

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