OMAHA, Neb. — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $1,096,655 in Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). The announcement of $223 million in meat and processing programs nationwide delivers on President Biden‘s commitments through the American Rescue Plan to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, which in turn increases competition, supports producer income, strengthens the food supply chain and creates jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. These announcements support the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain.
“Since President Biden laid out a commitment at the start of this year, USDA has worked tirelessly to give farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “By jumpstarting independent processing projects and increasing processing capacity, these investments create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains, delivering more food produced closer to home for families, expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in rural America.”
“We are proud of the USDA’s transformational focus on localizing the food supply chain in America and throughout the Twin States,” said Sarah Waring, State Director of USDA Rural Development in Vermont and New Hampshire. “More than $1 million in grant funding to Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing will bring jobs back to our communities and create more market opportunities for our local farmers. This family-owned operation will modernize their facility, tripling their throughput of animals and growing markets for local products while supporting energy efficiency with on-site solar to keep costs lower. Like the Biden-Harris Administration, the team at VLS&P is committed to reducing energy use through renewable technologies, and today’s investment recognizes their value to our rural economy and our farmers.”
Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing connects hundreds of farmers in Vermont and the Northeast with the customers they supply. Meat processing is currently a bottleneck in the region with many producers having to wait significant periods for the service. With their MPPEP investment, they will maximize their capacity and position the company for succession planning to an employee-owned model.
MPPEP was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. Today’s announcement is the first round of funding made available through Phase I of MPEPP. Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. USDA will also soon begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million, for a total of up to $375 million, to provide gap financing for independent processing plant projects that fill a demonstrated need for more diversified processing capacity. For more information about MPPEP, click here. To view the full list of current MPPEP awardees, visit here.
Today’s announcement is one of many actions that USDA is taking to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive, and resilient for American farmers and ranchers, and builds upon the Department’s efforts to transform the nation’s food system. Additional information on all these programs is available at usda.gov/meat.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the BidenHarris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
–USDA Rural Development Vermont