By TAMMIE SLOUP
Hufendick Farm will receive a $250,000 boost to help expand the family’s Plainfield butcher shop, the US Department of Agriculture announced.
The USDA Value Added Producer Grant will provide working capital funds to Hufendick Farm Inc. to assist them in expanding the markets for their various processed meat products. The farm raises beef, pork, lamb, goat and poultry for direct sales to consumers, and the funding will assist them in their expansion to a retail butcher shop, where they will process the harvested animals into numerous products including various cuts of meat and other processed meat products. The meat products sold all come from animals raised at Hufendick Farm.
Hufendick Farm is one of the 23 Value Added Producer Grant recipients awarded a total of $3.9 million to help producer-owned companies process and market new products.
“We also anticipate at some point in calendar year 2023 to have a companion program that will focus on poultry processing,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack during a Jan. 5 media call. “So, there’s an opportunity for us to continue to look for ways to help small- and mid-sized family operations find additional market opportunities that will create hopefully more income for farmers, more choice for consumers and more jobs.”
USDA is also providing guarantees for a total of $5.7 million in loans to two companies through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program using American Rescue Plan funding.
This program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution.
“We’ve been undertaking the last 12 months’ efforts to try to expand market capacity and market opportunity in the meat and poultry area,” Vilsack said. “We’ve announced, for example, 22 projects that are either a new or expanded processing capacity, and we expect more announcements to take place during the course of the next couple of months to increase that number.”
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has provided $54.6 million to 278 businesses and individuals through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program for strengthening and developing new market opportunities for U.S. meat and poultry processors, he noted. An intermediary planning program to ensure processing facilities have access to credit also was established.
This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit FarmWeekNow.com.