The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $55.2 million in competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country.” Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements 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.”
The program was created through legislation that was signed into law by President Trump in December of 2020. The Requiring Assistance to Meat Processers for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act, was introduced by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
Senator Moran commented that, “I’m pleased to see the RAMP-UP Act become a reality, giving meat processing facilities the tools they need to increase their market opportunities while strengthening our food supply chain for consumers. I encourage meat and poultry processing facilities in Kansas and across the country that qualify to utilize this program to meet the standards necessary to sell their products across state lines.”
“Following the passage of our bipartisan RAMP-UP Act, the USDA now has additional resources to help increase opportunities for local meat processors,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “We must continue to help small meat processors grow and thrive, especially during this period of economic recovery.”
USDA encourages grant applications that focus 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 or processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, and veteran producers. Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises.
MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection (PFGI) project is for processing facilities currently in operation and are working toward Federal inspection. Applicants can be located anywhere in the states and territories. Whereas, MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Compliance project is only for processing facilities located in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) CIS program. These states currently include Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Applicants must be working toward CIS program compliance requirements to operate a state-inspected facility or make a good faith effort toward doing so.