Vilsack Announces Funding for Meat Processing Capacity


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appeared in Iowa Friday announcing $500 million to expand meat and poultry processing capacity. The announcement supports the executive order signed Friday by President Joe Biden.

Vilsack says the funds aim to create a more competitive market for farmers. “We have got to expand the amount of capacity and processing capacity in this country. We can no longer rely on a handful of processing companies to do the job, to make the market competitive, to do right by farmers, to ensure, as well, that we have a resilient food supply system.”

Originally planned for Omaha, Nebraska, Vilsack appeared just across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Vilsack made his comments during a press event, adding. “It’s First and foremost going to create an opportunity to reverse what’s happening today out in the countryside where producers are having to sell their cattle at a loss, only to learn the processors end up taking that cattle in generating profit.”

Specifically, USDA announced its intent to invest $500 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

USDA also announced more than $150 million for existing small and very small processing facilities to help them weather COVID, compete in the marketplace and get the support they need to reach more customers.

USDA is also holding meatpackers accountable by revitalizing the Packers and Stockyards Act, issuing new rules on “Product of USA” labels, and developing plans to expand farmers’ access to new markets.