The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing US$320 million in 19 states to strengthen food supply chains and create more opportunities for agricultural producers and entrepreneurs.
The investments will come through four programs designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas: the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program, Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural and Economic Development Loan and Grant Program. The states included in these programs are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program is authorized under Section 1001 of the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP) provides grant funding to intermediary lenders who finance – or plan to finance – the start-up, expansion or operation of slaughter, or other processing of meat and poultry. The objective of MPILP is to strengthen the financing capacity of independent meat processors and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain. This program was authorized by Section 751 of Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program helps improve rural economic health by increasing access to business capital, allowing commercial lenders, like banks and credit unions, to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. This program was authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, lend to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. This program is authorized by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.
“We are partnering with entrepreneurs in rural areas to build brighter futures, connect business owners to new markets and create good jobs for generations to come,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.