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USDA invests $3.6 million to strengthen independant meat and poultry processors in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 21, 2023 – Shenandoah Valley Organic LLC is among five companies selected to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to help increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity, expand market opportunities for farmers and create jobs in rural areas across the nation.

A $3.6 million USDA Rural Development grant will help Shenandoah Valley Organic LLC expand its organic chicken processing facility in Harrisonburg to meet increasing demand. (USDA photo by John Markon)

Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the $59 million in total Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) funding while touring the Harrisonburg processing facility with Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh. They also visited with local producers and community members to discuss the importance of these investments to the region’s economy.

“Poultry is big business in Virginia, contributing billions to the state’s economy,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “This project will give producers like Shenandoah Valley Organic a fair chance to compete in the marketplace by helping break down barriers to processing. It will also expand low-cost meat and poultry product options for consumers in the commonwealth.”

The company will use the $3.6 million award for equipment purchases, new conveyor lines, building and site modifications and a new wastewater treatment system. These improvements will help the facility ease processing bottlenecks and nearly double capacity to 630,000 birds per week. The investments will also create 300 jobs and enable Shenandoah Valley Organic to provide more processing options and choices for customers.

USDA awarded $75 million for 22 MPPEP projects in November and an additional $12 million for three more in January. The most recent grants to independent processors in Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Idaho and South Dakota are one of many actions that USDA is taking to transform the nation’s food system and create more revenue streams and markets for producers.

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