CBS19, MACY MOORS
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is making efforts to beef up supply chains.
The Seventh Congressional District representative toured Piedmont Processing in Gordonsville on Thursday.
She is introducing a piece of bipartisan legislation called the Butcher Block Act. Its goal is to rebalance the cattle market by easing challenges from the pandemic.
Under the act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would create a loan program with $100 million to support meat processors.
Spanberger says the money could help small processors expand, eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain, and support supply chain infrastructure, but that’s not all.
“What this loan program does is it removes that risk from the lending institution,” she said. “They’re not the ones questioning how risky it may or may not be, because ultimately, it’s the USDA saying we’re backing these producers because we believe localized processing is important.”
The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which Spanberger voted for earlier this year.
Bill Renaud, the co-owner of Piedmont Processing, says there’s too much demand, but right now, the company just can’t meet it. He says this money will allow it to expand its facilities.
“We are at a capacity of about 10 to 12 animals a week, 10 to 12 beef a week. The limitation to that capacity is cooler space, freezer space, and equipment,” Renaud said.
He says the expansion will support the company getting beef to local farmers, markets and restaurants.
However, he says this money doesn’t fix all of the problems. Renaud says Piedmont Processing is working on being able to re-sell beef anywhere throughout the state, which would expand its markets.