Since the pandemic, USDA has offered grants to farmers and co-ops that are looking to start meat processing facilities. This is an effort to open up competition against the “Big-4” processors and the hold they have had on the livestock marketplace. This hold caused a lot of angst and culling of livestock when plants shut down or slowed down during the pandemic. This translated into millions of dollars lost by animal producers.
Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee about the grant programs that are being used to help get these startups rolling. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst had some questions and remarks for the Secretary.
AUDIO: Iowa Senator Ernst questions Ag Secretary Vilsack on grant programs