New grant funds are available to expand livestock processing capacity through the USDA Local Meat Capacity Grant (Local MCap) program and Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant (IAG) program. Applications are due on July 19, 2023.
The Local Meat Capacity Grant (Local MCap) program will award up to $75 million to independently owned and operated small-scale processors. Two categories of grants are available: 1) Processing Expansion Projects with awards of $100,000 to $5 million for facility upgrades and 2) Simplified Equipment-Only Projects with awards of $10,000 to $250,000 for equipment purchases only.
Who is eligible? Businesses currently operating in meat and poultry processing, including rendering, that process or plan to process one or more species subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) or the Poultry Product Inspection Act (PPIA) and that possess or plan to obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or a grant from an “equal to” state meat inspection program. Plants processing non-amenable species under voluntary FSIS or state inspection are also eligible to apply for funding.
What projects are eligible? Smaller-scale projects eligible for this program include equipment purchases and installation, facility and equipment upgrades, minor alterations and renovation, and capacity expansion.
The Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant (IAG) program will award up to $50 million for federally recognized Tribes to expand or enhance indigenous animals and meat protein processing capacity. There is no minimum funding amount and no maximum funding limit.
Who is eligible? Tribal governments of Indian tribes as defined by the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act (List Act) of 1994 (Pub. L. No. 103-454), their wholly-owned arms and instrumentalities, or joint or multi-tribal government entities.
What projects are eligible? Projects that construct or improve facilities, purchase and install equipment, address food insecurity or commercial market gaps, and otherwise support tribal food harvesting and value-added infrastructure for animal protein processing activities, including through indigenous-informed design principles.
How can I get support with my application for either grant program?
The USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity—Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA) offers comprehensive technical assistance for both grant programs. USDA has partnered with technical assistance providers to provide one-on-one advising to support with the grant application process, including project and proposal reviews tailored to the specific needs of diverse stakeholders and post-award grant management. Webinars hosted by MPPTA technical assistance providers are available to watch online.
CCOF appreciates the USDA’s efforts to incorporate stakeholder feedback to make grant opportunities more accessible to small and underserved processors. CCOF also acknowledges that unexpected grant programs with short application windows during a busy time of year often do not allow applicants the necessary time to plan, conduct feasibility studies, raise capital, and prepare successful applications. In recognition of these challenges, CCOF and our partners are advocating for permanent meat processing programs in the farm bill.
Please reach out to Laetitia Benador at Lbenador@ccof.org with any questions or to get involved in advocating for meat processing in the farm bill.