USDA wants farmers, processors to apply for meat & food supply programs

A USDA official says two of their programs have received a lot of interest from processors and farmers looking to sell directly to customers.

Wisconsin’s Rural Development Director Julie Lassa tells Brownfield the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program are part of President Biden’s efforts to create a more secure and diverse food supply chain.

Lassa expects funding for the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program to go quickly. “The deadline is coming up. It’s actually April 11th. That is being handled by the national office. We do know that there’s likely to be a lot of competition nationwide for the funding that is in that program.”

Lassa says the USDA program is different from Wisconsin’s state-funded meat processing grants, but processors might benefit from both. “We’ve been working with (Wisconsin Ag) Secretary (Randy) Romanski and DATCP to help cross-pollinate those programs so that more processors know about the federal and state help that is available to them.”

Lassa tells Brownfield Rural Development has been reaching out to lending partners to open the door for applicants in the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program. “Applicants would work through their lenders. There is no deadline for that program at all. They would have to work through their bank or lender in order to access those gauranteed loans and so we are seeing interestest.”

Processors and farmers that wish to expand into on-farm processing are encouraged to contact their state’s USDA Rural Development office to learn about the programs.

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