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Earlier this week, at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced several major developments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will benefit farmers, ranchers and producers across the nation, including a project in Ohio.
“At USDA, our goal is to provide all farmers, including new and underserved producers, with the opportunity to receive the assistance they need to continue farming, to build and maintain their competitive-edge, and to access more, new, and better markets,” said Vilsack during his address to Farm Bureau members. “Working together we can ensure American agriculture is as resilient as ever and will do so by implementing a holistic approach to emergency assistance, by lowering input costs through investments in domestic fertilizer production, and by promoting competition in agricultural markets.”
As part of the announcement, Vilsack revealed the details of International Food Solutions receiving a $9,575,250 grant to help redevelop and expand a vacant building in Cleveland into a plant with the capacity to process 60 million pounds of poultry. The expansion will include cold and dry storage and two processing lines, generating 227 jobs. International Food Solutions has produced thousands of prepared meals for K-12 students receiving free and reduced-price school meals.
“This week’s announcement is good news for consumers, producers, and the City of Cleveland,” said Jonathan McCracken, state director for USDA’s Ohio Rural Development agency. “This grant will create new jobs in Cleveland, increase domestic poultry processing, and allow International Food Solutions to expand its role in the National School Lunch Program.”
In all, USDA is investing more than $12 million to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Vilsack announced that Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program grants will help fund the projects.
“Over the past three years we have seen just how important a robust meat and poultry processing infrastructure within Ohio is for our food system,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Adam Sharp. “These efforts, along with additional grants at the state level, will allow small and medium-sized processing facilities to modernize and expand, benefiting area farmers, consumers and the local economy.”
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
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