WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA is deploying $100 million under the new Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to make available nearly $1 billion in loan guarantees; these loan guarantees will back private investment in processing and food supply infrastructure.
The funding is available through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address food system challenges dating back decades and further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the USDA stated in a news release adding that the investments will help essential processing and supply chain infrastructure that will ultimately deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for farmers, give people greater access to healthier foods, and eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain.
“The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities and created extreme disruptions in America’s food supply chain. The reduction in meat processing capacity is just one example of the supply chain bottlenecks that affect small and midsize farmers,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is investing in ways to improve America’s food supply chain.”
Vilsack added the funding will leverage approximately a billion dollars in public and private-sector investments “that will significantly expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance critical food supply chain infrastructure.”
Through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, USDA will partner with lenders to guarantee loans of up to $40 million to help eligible entities expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies and people in rural and urban areas.
USDA Rural Development (RD) will administer the loans. Funding may be used to:
- start-up or expand food supply chain activities such as aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling or distributing food.
- address supply chain bottlenecks.
- increase capacity and help create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain.
USDA is accepting electronic applications from lenders through the Food Supply Chain Online Application System until funds are expended. Paper applications will not be accepted. To access the online application system, lenders must submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/foodsupplychainloans or see the notice published in the Dec. 9 Federal Register.
USDA Rural Development encourages applications for projects that advance the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, promote equitable access to USDA programs and services, and reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points.