Minnesota receives $15 million to boost meat and poultry processing

Published 2:53 pm Friday, November 4, 2022

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Minnesota is receiving $15 million from the United States Department of Agriculture to establish a revolving loan program that will support small- and medium-sized meat and poultry processors. The new Meat and Poultry Revolving Loan Fund will be available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Rural Finance Authority.

“Local meat processing benefits farmers, our urban and rural economies, and consumers throughout the state,” said Gov. Tim Walz. “This loan program will help processors increase their capacity to better serve Minnesotans and ease supply chain disruptions we’ve witnessed over the past several years.”

The fund will offer low-interest loans for the start-up, expansion or operation of slaughter and value-added meat and poultry processing. Loans of up to $10 million will be available at a 3% fixed interest rate with a term of up to 10 years. Funds can be used to purchase land or equipment, cover start-up costs and make other business investments. Returned funds will be available to new borrowers.

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“This loan program acts as a catalyst for rural prosperity by opening opportunities to expand local and regional processing capacity and increase competition within the meat industry. It creates new markets, new jobs, and builds our economy,” said USDA Rural Development Minnesota State Director Colleen Landkamer. “Minnesota Rural Development is proud to partner with the state of Minnesota. This is a clear example of how the Biden Administration is building our economy from the bottom up and middle out, investing in meat and poultry processing facilities that know how to serve their community’s unique needs.”

Minnesota was awarded the maximum of $15 million in grant money targeting meat and poultry processing from the USDA Minnesota Rural Development Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program. The USDA will be investing a total of $200 million across the nation through two rounds of program grants.

“The MDA’s Rural Finance Authority already oversees over $96 million in loans and is well qualified to manage and administer this money,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. 

“We are grateful for this award from USDA and look forward to its positive impact on the meat and poultry processing industry across Minnesota.”

“Minnesota Farmers Union members have championed increased investment in small and medium-sized meat and poultry processors at the state and federal level for several years and are elated to see the establishment of a revolving loan program at Minnesota’s Rural Finance Authority,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “These funds will assist rural entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses, which is welcome news for livestock farmers. We are grateful to USDA for making this investment in a more resilient food system, and we are appreciative of the leadership of Gov. Walz and his administration as they pursued this funding to strengthen rural Minnesota’s economy.”

Loan applications will be available in early 2023.