Two meat processing grant programs are in the spotlight in summer 2023: USDA’s Local Meat Capacity Grant Program (Local MCap) and Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program (IAG).
In response to producer and processor questions about the definition of “equipment” in the Local MCap and IAG grants, USDA shared guidance that Mobile Harvest Units and Modular Meat Processing Systems may qualify as equipment.
An overview of the grants, equipment, and USDA’s Technical Assistance Program is below. Watch the Friesla Q&A session on these topics via the video below. This session was recorded on June 21, 2023 and covered USDA grants, grant support, mobile and modular equipment, stories from producers and processors in the field, and Q&A.
OVERVIEW: USDA LOCAL MEAT CAPACITY GRANT
USDA’s Local Meat Capacity Grant program (aka Local MCap) supports independently-owned meat and poultry processing businesses with funds to modernize, increase, diversify and decentralize meat and poultry processing capacity. This also includes funding for rendering. Approximately $75 million is available under this grant program, subject to appropriations and funding availability.
Processing Expansion Projects will fund grants from $100,000 up to $5,000,000 to increase the processing and/or rendering capacity of existing processing facilities that are privately, cooperatively, non-profit, or Tribally held as described in the Local MCap Request for Applications. Match requirements are outlined by USDA here.
Simplified Equipment-Only Projects offer a simplified application to fund grants between $10,000 and $250,000 for meat and poultry processors’ eligible equipment purchases. No cost share or matching funds are required.
Local MCap applications are due July 19, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST. Visit USDA’s Local MCap website for more information.
LOCAL MCAP & MOBILE/MODULAR EQUIPMENT
While USDA shared guidance that Mobile Harvest Units and Meat Processing Modules may qualify as equipment under the Local MCap grant, applicants are encouraged to consider several factors in their applications:
- The equipment must expand their existing capacity, not start it. For example, if a processor isn’t currently harvesting animals and hopes to receive Local MCap funding for a new Mobile Harvest Unit, this would be ineligible.
- The applicant cannot include construction costs of siting a unit or module. For example, pouring a concrete foundation, running new electrical lines to it, etc.
- The unit or module must either be inspected or come under inspection during the grant period.
- The unit or module must follow USDA FSIS regulations on potable water and wastewater connections.
- Bottom line: an applicant must convince the grant reviewers that the project meets the grant’s eligibility requirements.
For more grant-specific information, connect with a USDA Technical Assistance provider. To explore options around Mobile and Modular Meat Processing Equipment, reach out to Friesla’s team on our website.
OVERVIEW: USDA INDIGENOUS ANIMALS HARVESTING & MEAT PROCESSING GRANT
USDA’s Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant program (IAG) was created to support Tribal Nations with traditional harvesting methods and indigenous animals. The program intends to fund projects that invest in Tribal Nations’ supply chain resiliency, indigenous animals, restoring local indigenous food systems and indigenous processing methods, and expanding local capacity for the harvesting, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution (communal or commercial) of meat, poultry, seafood, and other animals that provide food security to tribal communities.
Per USDA, up to $50 million in funding is available. There is no minimum funding amount and no maximum funding limit. USDA can pro-rate final awards based on need. No cost share or matching funds are required.
IAG applications are due July 19, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST. Visit USDA’s IAG website for more information.
FREE GRANT SUPPORT FOR MEAT PRODUCERS & PROCESSORS
USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity—Technical Assistance (MPPTA) Program helps meat producers and processors with navigating federal grants, business planning, feasibility studies, and more. This free support can be accessed via USDA’s Technical Assistance providers. They range from Flower Hill Institute and the Intertribal Agriculture Council to the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN). Learn more via USDA’s MPPTA website.