Meat & Livestock News

USDA Publishes Environmental Assessment Draft for Local Meat Processing Grants

Close-up of hands of business meeting

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made public a draft of the Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for its Local Meat Capacity (Local MCap) Grants programme. This draft assesses the potential environmental impacts of the newly established Local MCap programme.

Launched in April 2023, the Local MCap programme offers up to $75 million in grants, with applications having closed on 29 July 2023. The initiative aims to assist smaller-scale meat processing projects that enhance local processing capabilities and options.

Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the USDA, Jenny Lester Moffitt, stated in April that these grants are intended to provide local livestock and poultry producers with more diverse and improved processing options by modernising and decentralising capacity.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has concluded from the PEA that the Local MCap programme is not expected to significantly impact the human environment. This finding negates the need for an Environmental Impact Statement.

The AMS aims to use the PEA to create a framework for efficiently assessing future projects, categorising them into priority tiers based on the level of analysis required.

If further analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is needed for specific applications, the agency will conduct additional environmental reviews to supplement this PEA.

The AMS is welcoming public comments on the PEA until 30 November, inviting stakeholders and members of the public to contribute their perspectives on the environmental draft.