USDA Awards Community Ventures $10 Million to Support Kentucky Agriculture Initiatives, Strengthen Food Chain

LEXINGTON, KY…May 22, 2023…The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Kentucky-based non-profit Community Ventures $10 million in funding under the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP). The USDA program, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, will invest a total of $89 million across the country. Community Ventures will utilize the funding to establish a revolving loan fund that will enable new independent meat processors and other agri-businesses essential to food accessibility to launch and grow.

“Today’s investments and actions to back the startup and expansion of independent processing capacity and boost market fairness in seeds and other key agricultural inputs will promote competition, support producer income, strengthen the supply chain and increase economic opportunity in rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

MPILP funds will support businesses engaged in meat and poultry processing, food distribution, transportation, manufacturing, storage, aggregation or wholesale, with the result being a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain.

“We are grateful for this USDA funding as it will greatly bolster our efforts to help producers in rural Kentucky counties—particularly those still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” explained Brenda Weaver, Community Ventures’ President of Housing and Lending. “Our experience with agricultural lending goes back nearly 40 years, providing loans to both large and small-scale producers as well as business education and technical assistance to help them succeed.”

Community Ventures’ past loans have assisted established family farms in expanding operations as well as allowing new producers—including a Congolese refugee—to begin his farming venture. Even pre-pandemic, Community Ventures’ Bluegrass Harvest initiative was raising consumer awareness of buying local while providing a central hub through which Kentucky producers—whether meat/poultry, leafy greens or fruits and vegetables—could elevate market awareness and increase sales. Bluegrass Harvest brings together producers together with restauranteurs, consumers and CSA providers with the goal of strengthening local food systems and economies.

For more information, contact: Brenda Weaver at