BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Erin Oban today announced that USDA Rural Development is investing $471,525 in North Dakota through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) and $10 million through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program.

The announcement comes after a commitment from President Biden through the American Rescue Plan to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, which in turn increases competition, supports producer income, strengthens the food supply chain, and creates jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas.

“USDA Rural Development was given a significant responsibility to design and launch programs that would respond to major challenges that have long-impacted our country’s food supply chain and were emphasized and made even more obvious at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rural Development State Director Erin Oban. “The priority of the Biden Administration to address this challenge created opportunity for North Dakotans, and we are thrilled to award $10,000,000 to Lewis and Clark Development Council and nearly $500,000 to South 40 Beef, both right here in our state. Expanding their capacity and supporting in-state meat processing is a win-win for producers, businesses, and consumers.”

Lewis and Clark Regional Development Council will use the $10 million grant to help develop North Dakota’s economy and communities through flexible financing for the start-up, expansion, and operation of entities engaged in the primary processing or further processing of meat and poultry.

South 40 Beef, LLC will use a $471,525 grant to expand its beef processing plant in Mott. The 6,000 sq. ft. plant currently processes approximately 130 head of cattle per month. The grant funds will help to expand their operations to 12,000 sq. ft. and add increased cooler and fabrication space. These improvements will allow the processing of up to 300 head of cattle per month.

Helping North Dakota meat and poultry is one of many actions that the USDA is taking to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive, and resilient for American farmers and ranchers. Additional information on all these programs is available at usda.gov/meat.