White House Commits $1B to Expand US Meat Processing Capacity

The Biden administration revealed plans Monday to invest federal funds in independent meat processors.

John S. Forrester, former Managing Editor

January 3, 2022

2 Min Read
Representative imageImage courtesy of Joshua Roberts / Alamy Stock Photo

The White House announced plans Monday to support the expansion of the country’s independent meat processing operations with $1 billion in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, from strengthening financing systems to increasing competition and capacity.

Under the Biden-Harris administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $375 million for independent meat processing plant projects that boost competition in the market and strengthen the food supply chain.

“Four large meat-packing companies control 85% of the beef market. In poultry, the top four processing firms control 54% of the market. And in pork, the top four processing firms control about 70% of the market. The meatpackers and processors buy from farmers and sell to retailers like grocery stores, making them a key bottleneck in the food supply chain,” the White House said in a fact sheet. “When dominant middlemen control so much of the supply chain, they can increase their own profits at the expense of both farmers – who make less – and consumers – who pay more.”

$275 million is earmarked for a partnership with lenders that will offer independent meat processors loans and other support at rates and on terms that provide access to long-term, affordable capital. USDA will also utilize $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds to immediately offer over $1 billion in guaranteed loans.

As the meat processing industry faces ongoing labor issues, the federal government intends to deploy $100 million toward workforce development and worker health and safety initiatives. To support innovation efforts and reduce barriers to entry, $50 million in funds will help companies secure technical assistance and research and development services as they create new capacity or expand existing capacity.

The administration also plans to offer $100 million in reduced overtime inspection costs by cutting overtime and holiday inspection fees for small poultry, meat and egg processing plants by 30% and 70% at very small poultry, meat and egg processing plants.

About the Author(s)

John S. Forrester

former Managing Editor, Powder & Bulk Solids

John S. Forrester is the former managing editor of Powder & Bulk Solids.

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