Meat and poultry producers will be able to access $100 million through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program. The guarantees will back investment in processing and supply infrastructure.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the move will help expand processing capacity and ensure food can get to American markets.

“The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities and created extreme disruptions in America’s food supply chain. The reduction in meat processing capacity is just one example of the supply chain bottlenecks that affect small and midsize farmers,” Vilsack said.

The program will see the U.S. Department of Agriculture partner with lenders to guarantee loans of up to $40 million apiece. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies and people in rural and urban areas.

USDA Rural Development (RD) will administer the loans. Funding may be used to:

• start-up or expand food supply chain activities such as aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling or distributing food.

• address supply chain bottlenecks.

• increase capacity and help create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain.

USDA is accepting electronic applications from lenders through the Food Supply Chain Online Application System until funds are expended. Paper applications will not be accepted. To access the online application system, lenders must submit a request to rdfoodsupplychainloans@usda.gov. For more information, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/foodsupplychainloans or see the notice published in the Dec. 9 Federal Register.

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