U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the investment of $32 million to support expanded meat processing capacity through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The dollars were awarded to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities throughout the country. Broken down, the new program was designed to help small processing facilities withstand the pandemic, compete with other processors and find help in reaching more customers. Facilities are expected to use the dollars to cover costs for improvements such as expanding and modernizing facilities and meeting packaging, labeling and food safety requirements needed to pass inspection.

Ultimately, USDA says these dollars will allow facilities to serve more customers in more markets. The MPIRG program contains a total of $55.2 million. The remaining funds will be made available through upcoming requests for applications. Read more on USDA meat processing investments here.