USDA Allocates $89 Million for More Competition

In an effort to create fairer markets and more opportunities for family farmers, the Harris-Biden administration announced in March an $89 million investment for the startup and expansion of independent meat processors.

The administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain intends to decrease prices of meat in the grocery store while also supporting U.S. farmers.

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“Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA is laser-focused on standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, and more revenue streams and market opportunities, which helps bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at the National Farmers Union convention in San Francisco. “Today’s investments and actions to back the startup and expansion of independent processing capacity and boost market fairness in seeds and other key agricultural inputs will promote competition, support producer income, strengthen the supply chain, and increase economic opportunity in rural communities.”

Under the second round of the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the $89 million in grants, boosting available funding for independent processors, alleviating bottlenecks, and creating business opportunities in rural communities. In the fall of 2022, USDA awarded $75 million in the first round to eight nonprofit lenders in seven states: Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Also, the USDA announced recommendations for improving fairness and competition in the seed and agricultural input industry. The report stresses the importance of public investment in plant breeding to promote resiliency and competition and help farmers adjust to local and regional needs.