RELEASE: Breakthrough Institute Announces Support of Bipartisan Bill to Bolster Financing for Innovative Food Businesses

Washington, DC – August 10, 2023 - The Breakthrough Institute announces its support for the Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Shontel Brown (D-OH-11), Max Miller (R-OH-7), and Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19). This proposed legislation aims to enhance financing opportunities for agricultural and food businesses, with a focus on improving the resilience and productivity of the U.S. food system.

The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, initially authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as part of USDA's Build Back Better initiative. The program offered guaranteed loans of up to $40 million each for qualified lenders to finance infrastructure projects within the middle of the food supply chain, covering activities such as aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution. These investments were intended to expand capacity and foster a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain.

Leveraging $100 million provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, USDA made nearly $1 billion in loan guarantees available to support private investments. USDA has successfully obligated a significant portion of its funds, backing approximately $800 million in loans for nearly 50 projects. The program garnered interest from companies across the food and agriculture sector, indicating its potential to drive a diverse array of innovation and infrastructure investments.

However, the program suspended accepting applications when its unobligated funds were rescinded in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, enacted to raise the nation's debt ceiling before default. The Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act seeks to address this situation by codifying and expanding the program with $29 million in annual funding through fiscal year 2028. This sustained funding aims to encourage additional private investments in food supply chain innovation and infrastructure.

Federal loan guarantees play an essential role in supporting the commercialization and scaling up of food products and technologies, contributing to a more efficient food system and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program provided support to PlantBased Innovations LLC, a plant-based yogurt company, enabling them to acquire a plant and equipment in Fredericksburg, Iowa. Plant-based foods offer promising alternatives to animal-based products, reducing the environmental footprint of food production and consumption.

Emily Bass, Federal Policy Manager at The Breakthrough Institute, commented, "The bipartisan Food Supply Chain Capacity and Resiliency Act presents an opportunity to scale innovations with potential benefits for our food system, climate, and society. Loan guarantees can support manufacturing and processing facilities that not only improve the efficiency of the food system but also expand market opportunities for farmers, lower food prices, and create jobs across the country."

Ensuring the continuation of the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program represents a significant step toward expanding financing for food processing, manufacturing, and other activities in the middle of the supply chain. Moving forward, Congress and USDA should explore additional ways to enhance existing loan programs, fostering innovation and resiliency in other sectors of the food system, such as the manufacturing of low-carbon agricultural technologies and inputs.

The Breakthrough Institute applauds the efforts of Representatives Khanna, Brown, Miller, and Molinaro in introducing this bill and urges Congress to consider this legislation carefully, ensuring a balanced approach that supports a more innovative, sustainable, and resilient food system for America.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Name: Emily Bass


Phone: +1 (704) 995-2708

Background/Related Stories:

To Decarbonize Food Production, Washington Must Invest - Alex Smith and Emily Bass

The Case for Public Investment in Alternative Proteins - Alex Smith, Saloni Shah, and Dan Blaustein-Rejto