New USDA processing grants to boost capacity for packers, producers
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says new grants aimed at expanding meat and poultry processing capacity will create markets for rural America.
Speaking with reporters at Greater Omaha Packing Wednesday, Vilsack told reporters funds from the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program will strengthen the supply chain and support regional food systems. “They’ll reduce barriers to processing. They’ll allow competition at scale. They’ll create jobs and, over time, they’ll create greater choices for consumers and lower costs.”
Greater Omaha Packing is receiving a $20 million grant and President Mike Drury says it will help expand capacity by almost 200,000 head annually. “One of the biggest things we’re hearing from our customers is responses for additional value-added – making producers into retail ready and customer friendly use.”
Drury says the $20 million grant from USDA is part of a larger $100 million expansion project.
Dan Pedersen’s feedlot in eastern Iowa supplies the packing plant. He says the expansion will increase demand. “We have to get rid of the supplies. Once the supply and demand gets on our side the prices will continue to go up.”
A Wisner, Nebraska, based-processor is receiving a $675,000 grant, which is part of the first round of funding.
USDA will distribute $73 million to processors across several states.