As part of the Administration’s efforts to address
food systems challenges arising from the pandemic as well as those going back decades,
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today
announced that USDA plans for another $100 million in funding from the American
Rescue Plan Act. The funding would leverage hundreds of millions more in lending
through community and private sector lenders to expand meat and poultry processing
capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. These investments will help
deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for farmers and address bottlenecks in the
food supply chain revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
The Department plans to publish specific details on the new program and how to apply as
part of USDA’s Build Back Better Initiative, a comprehensive plan to invest $4 billion to
strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition.
This announcement follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement earlier this
month of steps it is taking to address concentration in the meat-processing industry,
adding a new commitment of $100 million for loan guarantees on top of the previously
announced $500 million investment to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.
“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is shifting the
balance of power back to the communities and small businesses of America by investing
in ways we can build more, better and fairer markets for farmers and families alike,”
Vilsack said. “COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities in our food system. As we build back
better, we must create more, better and fairer markets that enhance competition and
create economic opportunity across America’s agriculture and food supply chains. This is
another meaningful step in our efforts to act on lessons from COVID-19 to build a food
system that is fair, competitive, distributed and resilient where a greater share of the food
dollar goes to those growing, harvesting, processing and preparing our food.”
The COVID-19 pandemic created extreme disruptions in America’s food supply chain,
exposing vulnerabilities due to consolidated processing capacity. By expanding access to
capital, USDA will help increase private investment to create a more resilient,
distributed, and fairer food supply chain.
Through this program, USDA will use $100 million in funding from the American
Rescue Plan Act to catalyze millions more in lending available for working capital,
facilities, equipment, and other investments.
The loan guarantees will help to:
• start-up or expand entities in our food supply chain that aggregate, process,
manufacture, wholesale or distribute food.
• address supply chain bottlenecks.
• increase the resiliency of the food supply chain.
As co-Chair of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force,
Secretary Vilsack and USDA have brought together industry, labor, and federal partners
to address the short-term supply chain disruptions arising from the Administration’s
strong economic recovery. This is one of several key steps that USDA will take to build a
more resilient supply chain and better food system and to increase competition in
agricultural markets, pursuant to President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting
Competition in the American Economy and his Executive Order on America’s Supply
Chains. This initiative will support key supply chain infrastructure investments to expand
and scale existing capacity, as well as support long-term investments in new operations.
USDA is preparing to issue a notice soon to announce eligibility requirements and the
application window. USDA encourages lenders and other interested stakeholders to sign
up for email updates to receive the latest information about the program and related
events. USDA is hosting a lender training webinar on October 14 to inform rural lenders,
community development financial institutions, food sector lenders and community
lenders about how they can become approved to participate in this program. In addition,
USDA is planning a forum for financing entities aligned with the announcement of the
eligibility and application requirements.
Earlier this year, USDA 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.
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. If you’d like to subscribe to
USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the
Biden-Harris 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.