On Monday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an $89 million investment to finance the startup and expansion of independent meat processors.  USDA also announced the department's initial steps to create a more competitive marketplace for seeds and other agricultural inputs.  Vilsack said the investment "will promote competition, support producer income, strengthen the supply chain, and increase economic opportunity in rural communities."


USDA is providing $89 million in grants under the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program to increase available financing for independent processors, alleviate bottlenecks, and create opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural communities.  The investments are being made under the second round of the program.  Nonprofit lenders in seven states, Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, will use the funding to establish revolving loan funds to finance the startup, expansion and operation of meat and poultry processors. 


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