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The Federal Government Hopes $100 Million Can Keep the Food Supply from Breaking Down.

The Federal Government Hopes $100 Million Can Keep the Food Supply from Breaking Down.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide loan guarantees to make it easier for processors to build new facilities, add on to existing ones and improve supply chains.

The coronavirus pandemic triggered shutdowns of meat processing plants and delayed shipments to grocery stores. That, in turn, set off shortages and higher consumer prices.

So the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to make the food supply chain more resilient by backing loans to build meat and poultry processors of various sizes to better absorb problems if a big company hits a crisis.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday that his agency will spend $100 million in loan guarantees to address a variety of vulnerabilities in the industries that produce, process and deliver meat to grocery stores. The loan money is intended to make it easier for processors to open new facilities, expand capacity at existing sites and improve other supply chain issues like adding more cold storage sites.

“It’s going to create a sense of confidence in the supply chain, which hopefully, over time, with the expanded processing capacity, will also result in fair returns for our producers, and fair prices at the checkout counter,” Vilsack said.

The money will cut the risk to bankers to provide loans to small and medium-sized companies looking to expand, specifically in areas of mobile processing, cold storage capacity and establishing producer co-ops for production, marketing and packaging efforts.

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