U.S. pledges $500 million to increase meat processing capacity.

After consumers were restricted from purchasing meat during the COVID-19 outbreak last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Friday that the US administration would invest at least $500 million to expand beef, pork, and poultry processing capacity.

Vilsack spoke at a news league in Council Bluffs, Iowa, that money from a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan authorized in March will be distributed to meat processors in grants and loans to make the supply chain more resilient and enhance competitiveness in the sector.

President Joe Biden engaged an administrative order directing the US Department of Agriculture to combat “abusive practices of some meat manufacturers” and encourage more competition in the US economy.

In June, the USDA announced three new rules to bolster enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which was enacted 100 years ago to protect farmers against unfair trade practices.

According to the U.S. National Meat Institute, Biden’s order, which represents meat producers, will “open the floodgates for litigation.”