U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the investment of $32 million in grants awarded to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities to support expanded capacity and efficiency through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.
“Today’s investment supports local and regional meat and poultry processors as they recover from the pandemic and also work to expand capacity,” Vilsack said. “Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, pursue new market opportunities, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain.”
With this grant funding, meat and poultry processing businesses can cover the costs for improvements such as expanding existing facilities, modernizing processing equipment and meeting packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. These changes will allow these facilities to serve more customers in more markets.
MPIRG, a new program authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, is jointly administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The program was part of USDA’s comprehensive funding package to help small and very small processing facilities weather the pandemic, compete in the marketplace, and get the support they need to reach more customers.
The MPIRG focuses on:
- Improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency;
- Developing new and expanding existing markets;
- Increasing capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand;
- Maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards;
- Obtaining a larger commercial presence; and
- Increasing access to slaughter/processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities.
In June 2021, USDA announced the availability of $55.2 million in MPIRG funding, accepting applications for a competitive grant award process which resulted in today’s awards. Remaining funds will be made available through a forthcoming Request for Applications.