USDA to launch loan guarantee initiative

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans for another $100 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to address food systems challenges.

The funding would leverage hundreds of millions more in lending through community and private sector lenders to expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. These investments will help deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for farmers and address bottlenecks in the food supply chain revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic.

USDA plans to publish specific details on the new program and how to apply as part of USDA’s Build Back Better Initiative, a comprehensive plan to invest $4 billion to strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition. This announcement follows an earlier announcement from the Biden Administration on steps it is taking to address concentration in the meat-processing industry with a $500 million investment to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

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“Under the leadership of Pres. Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is shifting the balance of power back to the communities and small businesses of America by investing in ways we can build more, better and fairer markets for farmers and families alike,” USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack said Monday. “COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities in our food system, AS we build back better, we must create more, better and fairer markets that enhance competition and create economic opportunity across America’s agriculture and food supply chains. This is another meaningful step in our efforts to act on lessons … to build a food system that is fair, competitive, distributed and resilient where a greater share of the food dollar goes to those growing, harvesting, processing and preparing our food.”