The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $55.2 million will be put towards competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The program will be funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.
For the grant, USDA encourages applications that focus on:
- Improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency;
- Developing new and expanding existing markets;
- Increasing capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand;
- Maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards;
- Obtaining a larger commercial presence;
- Increasing access to slaughter or processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, and veteran producers.
Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises.
MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection project is for processing facilities currently in operation and are working toward federal inspection. Applicants can be located anywhere in the states and territories.
MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Compliance project is only for processing facilities located in states with a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) CIS program. These states currently include Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Applicants must be working toward CIS program compliance requirements to operate a state-inspected facility or make a good faith effort toward doing so.
Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, August 2, 2021. Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application.
The Agricultural Marketing Service offers webinars for applicants to help walk them through the Request for Application. Additionally, grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours. For more information about grant eligibility and program requirements, visit the MPIRG webpage, or contact MPIRG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcement is part of the Build Back Better initiative, a commitment to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system, support food production, improved processing, investments in distribution and aggregation, and market opportunities. Through the Build Back Better initiative, USDA will help ensure the food system of the future is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient; supports health with access to healthy, affordable food; ensures growers and workers receive a greater share of the food dollar; and advances equity as well as climate resilience and mitigation.