Jun 19, 2023
Idaho potato packer among recipients of $320M in federal funding

An Idaho potato packing operation is among the recipients of $320 million in federal funding to strengthen food supply chains and create agricultural business opportunities.

Mart Group, based in Rupert, will use a $19.6 million investment to construct a frozen potato processing facility that will enable a fivefold increase the company’s frozen whole and diced potato production capacity, according to the USDA. Six jobs will be created at the company and 12 others stabilized.

Mart Group, based in Rupert, will use a $19.6 million investment to construct a frozen potato processing facility. Photo: File

The USDA is investing the funds in 19 states across rural America in an attempt to create new and better markets for agricultural producers and food businesses.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are standing up for America’s farmers and ranchers by expanding processing capacity, creating fairer markets, more revenue streams and market opportunities which help bring down food costs for families at the grocery store,” US. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “We are partnering with entrepreneurs in rural areas to build brighter futures, connect business owners to new markets and create good jobs for generations to come.”

Other states receiving funding are: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

The funding comes from four programs: the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program, Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural and Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.

In Iowa, PlantBased Innovations will use $11.7 million to purchase a plant and equipment in Fredericksburg. The investment is expected to create 50 jobs for the manufacturer of plant-based yogurts.

In Kentucky, protein processor and frozen entree co-packer Double D Group will use $14 million to equip an expanded facility, while Trellis Loop Florence I will use $25 million to purchase equipment for the processing section of its vertically integrated, controlled environment hydroponics facility.

In Minnesota, Fresha LLC will purchase equipment and refinance debt for its carrot wholesale facility with $15 million in funding, while In North Carolina, Cardinal Foods will use $3 million to increase its blueberry processing capacity and expand into sweet potato processing

A full list of funded projects can be found here (.pdf).

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