On January 3, the Administration announced measures to support independent meat producers faced with a shrinking share of consumer spend.

In 2021, cattle ranchers received 37 cents on every dollar spent on beef, down from over 50% in previous years. By supporting an increase in the number of processing options the Administration aims to provide price support to producers.

Four companies control 85% of production in the $213 billion meat industry. Critics say the packing companies are monopolistic and have forced consolidation driving down revenues for producers. Packing companies respond that plants have been closed because they are unprofitable.

To help meat producers by encouraging more independent meat processing plants, the Administration will dedicate $1 billion in the American Rescue Plan. Specifically:

  • USDA will provide gap financing grants totaling up to $375 million for independent processing plant projects that fill a demonstrated need for more diversified processing capacity. Phase I ($150 million for 15 projects) kicks off with Requests for Proposals in Spring 2022 and Phase II ($225 million) will open in Summer 2022.

  • USDA will provide up to $275 million to lenders to make more long term and affordable capital available to independent processors that need credit. USDA will solicit applications from potential partners by Summer 2022, with an initial focus on lenders that provide financing in underserved communities.

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