USDA awards $9.5 million through Local Meat Capacity grant

Earlier this week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is awarding $9.5 million to 42 projects through the Local Meat Capacity (Local MCap) grant program. This initial set of awards through Local MCap is for Simplified Equipment Only projects.

In April 2023, USDA announced up to $75 million available for Local MCap to fund innovative projects designed to build resilience in the meat and poultry supply chain by providing producers with more local processing options and strengthening their market potential. This is part of a larger, $1 billion commitment to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity and give farmers additional, local options to obtain fairer prices for the animals they raise and give consumers more options in the marketplace. The Local MCap grant program is targeted to support meat and poultry processors with smaller-scale projects, with a goal to increase processing availability and variety for local and regional livestock producers. The program is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) with funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

AMS has entered into a cooperative agreement with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (NHCLF) to execute and administer Local MCap awards. NHCLF is responsible for making grant awards and administering grant funds.

USDA will announce additional awards for both Equipment and Processing Expansion Local MCap grants at a later date.

USDA is announcing this first set of awards for simplified equipment projects in 27 states and Puerto Rico. This set of awards fund projects from $10,000 to $250,000 to purchase processing equipment such as meat grinders, stuffers, and smokers. For example:

  • Yoder’s Butcher Barn, a Maryland-based livestock processing business, is owned and operated by third-generation butchers and specializes in livestock slaughter services for its community. They will use Local MCap grant funds to purchase a new smokehouse, linker, mixer-grinder, patty machine, and saws to double their weekly beef and pork capacity. In addition to improving processing efficiency, this project will create three to four new jobs and facilitate livestock sourcing from an additional 28 farmers.
  • Nordik Meats is a small, independently owned meat processing facility in Southwest Wisconsin. Through Local MCap, Nordik Meats will purchase a grinder, meatball maker, and packaging equipment. This equipment will provide local producers with the ability to create new value-added products for local consumers, maximize the value of their animals, utilize byproducts, and increase animal harvest. Nordik Meats will increase the number of livestock processed annually by 100% over two years, implement new processing technologies, train 12 existing staff, hire four new employees, and benefit 350 local small family farms.