US – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $55.2 million grant opportunity available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.

This is aimed at building capacity and advancing the economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country.

The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

 The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program assists currently operational meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities in obtaining a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) or the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA); or to operate as a State-inspected facility that is compliant with FMIA or PPIA under a respective Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program.

USDA is seeking applications for improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency.

The program also focuses on applications for enhancing market opportunities, addressing consumer and producer demand, and increasing access to slaughter or processing facilities for small scale and beginning farmers.

It is also encouraging grant applications that focus on maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards and obtaining a larger commercial presence.

Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises.

MPIRG’s planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection (PFGI) project is for processing facilities within the United states and its territories currently in operation and are working toward Federal inspection.

 On the other hand, MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Compliance project, is limited to processing facilities in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) CIS program.

Applicants must be working toward CIS program compliance requirements to operate a state-inspected facility or make a good faith effort toward doing so.

AMS offers webinars for applicants to help walk them through the Request for Application. Additionally, grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours.

The grant is part of the Build Back Better (BBB) initiative adopted by the United Nations member states which is an approach to post-disaster recovery that reduces vulnerability to future disasters.

It is a commitment to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system, support food production, improved processing, investments in distribution and aggregation, and market opportunities.

Through the BBB, USDA will help to ensure the food system of the future is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient.