USDA Offers $75 Million to Support Local Meat Processing
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), requests applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Local Meat Capacity Grants (Local MCap). This $75 million grant program supports independently owned meat and poultry processing businesses with funds to provide more and better processing options for local livestock producers by modernizing, increasing, diversifying and decentralizing meat and poultry processing capacity, including support for rendering.
What is the purpose of Local MCap?
The purpose of this program is to build resilience in the meat and poultry supply chain by increasing processing capacity and promoting more competition in the sector. This 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 livestock producers. Given that byproducts (e.g., meat and bone meal, poultry meal, blood meal, animal fats, etc.) are generated through the slaughter and processing of livestock and, therefore, an essential part of a holistic processing supply chain, rendering plants who can demonstrate how they meet the overarching goals of this program are also eligible to apply. Up to 10% of available funds may be awarded to rendering projects. Local MCap complements the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program administered by Rural Development by providing a targeted program for smaller-scale projects using a streamlined application.
What projects are eligible for funding?
Local MCap offers two funding tracks:
- Processing Expansion Projects will fund grants from $100,000 up to $5 million to increase the processing and/or rendering capacity of privately, cooperatively, non-profit, or Tribally held processing facilities as described in the RFA. Applications in this project type may request funding for equipment-only projects over $250,000 or projects that include equipment purchases and facilities upgrades that create new and/or expanded markets for local livestock producers. For funding requests that include building and facility upgrades, those can include improvements, re-arrangements, and/or alterations to a facility that are required to use a space more effectively and to accommodate new or upgraded equipment and processes. Processing Expansion Project applications should demonstrate technical feasibility, financial viability, and should identify other non-Federal funds of at least 50 percent of the total project cost necessary to complete the proposed project. (The match requirement is reduced to 25 percent for small and underserved business owners.)
- Simplified Equipment-Only Projects offer a simplified application to fund smaller grants between $10,000 and $250,000 for equipment purchases for meat and poultry processors. The Simplified Equipment-Only option is a Fixed Price Grant, meaning it will fund only equipment purchases (and not associated facility upgrades, staffing, or other costs), and the amount awarded will be equal to the cost of the equipment up to $250,000. Applicants must attach documentation to substantiate the costs of each piece of proposed equipment, which can include contracts, catalog pricing or binding quotes provided by license commercial entities. No match is required for Simplified Equipment-Only grants.
What projects and activities are NOT eligible for funding?
Projects are not eligible for funding if the proposed activities include:
- New construction and/or structural changes to an existing building/facility resulting in a square foot expansion or changes to the building’s floor, foundation, and exterior or load bearing walls.
- Routine maintenance and repair of an organization’s buildings and operational facilities.
- Purchasing land, buildings, or facilities, or any interest therein.
- Paying ongoing staffing or operational costs not specifically tied to the proposed expansion project.
- Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any Federal, State, or local government funding.
- Activities already funded by another Federal award program.
What are the funding priorities for Local MCap?
AMS will prioritize applications that demonstrate engagement with and benefit to local livestock producers, including underserved producers. AMS may prioritize applications based on:
- Diversity in applicants funded in geographic regions and across a variety of species.
- For Processing Expansion Projects: Leverage of significant non-Federal financial and technical resources, as appropriate to the scope and scale of the project. Any match above and beyond the match requirement (see section 4.1) may lend support to the application.
- Size of the operation according to number of head processed annually or number of employees. Applicants should provide this information as part of their project narrative.
- Whether the projects:
- Are located in communities that have distressed or at-risk scores on the Distressed Communities Index (DCI) developed by the Economic Innovation Group.
- Enhance worker and/or farmer voice through cooperative ownership, payment of living wages, the provision of worker training, and/or promotion of safe working conditions.
- Enhance local and regional environmental stewardship and climate benefits.
When are proposals due? Local MCap applications must be received on or before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on July 19, 2023, through Grants.gov. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.
The full Request for Applications can be found here.
For more information on this program or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.