The US Department of Agriculture announced it will invest $500m in grants and loans to grow the number of small meat processing plants in the US, with another $150m+ designated to help existing small packers survive and expand.

COVID-19 shutdowns, along with recent cyberattacks on US infrastructure, have highlighted a problem that’s been brewing for years in the US meat market: it’s too concentrated.

Just 4 meatpacking companies currently control 80%+ of the US beef market. The lack of competition drives the prices of cattle down and meat up, hurting both farmers and consumers.