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New revolving loan fund targets meat processing facilities

ND Tourism

Expanding its efforts to improve quality of life in rural North Dakota, the Rural Development Finance Corporation has developed a new revolving loan fund focused on supporting the state’s meat and poultry processors. The Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program is part of a $10 million USDA grant to offer low-interest loans for the start-up, expansion, or operation of regional meat processing facilities.

RDFC Executive Director Lori Capouch say this is in response to supply chain issues that North Dakota has been facing even before the pandemic.

"We're a very sparsely populated state and we have cities with low populations, and so it's gotten very expensive to get food large distances and small volumes to our communities. We felt that in light of the pandemic it's great that this financing became available through the federal government, but we really did have this issue and this desire to invest in this space prior to the pandemic."

Capouch says there are quite a few small meat processing plants in North Dakota but there is still a great need for products for local businesses and families.

"Our hope is that, first off, it will help anybody that's in those planning stages of building a meat plant to get more affordable access to financing. We're lending these funds at 2% interest, which is quite a bit below the prime rate at this current time. It should also increase the amount of inspected meat in our state that could be available to sell through these local grocery stores and into our local school systems and restaurants."