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SD Receives Grants to Help Small Meat Processors
South Dakota Ag Connection - 07/06/2023

A new round of federal grants to help smaller meat and poultry processors fight industry consolidation includes $15 million for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and $834,000 for a five-state region including South Dakota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $115 million in total grants, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently.

Vilsack held a roundtable with producers and businesses last week in Des Moines. He announced 15 awards in 17 states aimed at growing independent processing plants’ capacities, starting up new plants and expanding rural workforces.

The grant for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will go toward a revolving loan fund to support the meat and poultry industry within the reservation’s eight districts. The Oyate Community Development Corporation will administer the fund.

The $834,000 grant for the Farmers Union Foundation will go toward a revolving loan fund for independent small- and medium-sized meat processors. The money will be available for use throughout a five-state region of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The grants are part of a $1 billion initiative from President Joe Biden’s administration to make the meatpacking industry more competitive. Currently, four corporations process 85% of the nation’s beef supply.

The grants are also part of President Joe Biden’s pitch on “Bidenomics” heading into the 2024 presidential campaign. Biden last week touted initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan that he said helped the American economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Those policies are focused on helping middle-class Americans and small businesses, Biden said. Vilsack told reporters the new USDA investments are focused on helping those same groups in the food industry as a part of the Biden administration’s “Investing in America” agenda.


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