New Program Addressing Supply Chain Issues
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and Representative Angie Craig (all D-Minnesota) announced a new program that will release approximately $1 billion in funding to shore up food supply chains and support farmers. The funding is available through the American Rescue Plan, which Senators Klobuchar, Smith, and Rep. Craig helped pass earlier this year.
Even before the disruptions created by the pandemic, farmers in Minnesota and around the country have seen the vulnerabilities of our food supply chain. Sen. Smith, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Says this program will help break the logjam in our food system while ensuring fair prices and better opportunities for farmers.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is deploying $100 million under the new Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to make nearly $1 billion available in loan guarantees. These loan guarantees will back private investment in processing and food supply infrastructure that will help eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain in Minnesota and around the country. These investments will also deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for farmers, while giving people greater access to healthier foods.
This program is part of efforts to address food system challenges dating back decades and further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to backlogs and marketplace consolidation, farmers have struggled to find processing facilities to send their animals; just four companies control 80 percent of the U.S. beef market. The public and private sector investments in this program will significantly expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance critical food 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 USDA website.