The new owners of a chicken processing plant in Charles City are getting nearly $46 million in federal assistance to reopen the facility.

The Simply Essentials plant closed in August of 2019. Pure Prairie Farms, the facility’s new owner, is getting a nearly $39 million USDA loan, along with a grant of about $7 million.

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said it’s part of the agency’s push to expand meat and poultry processing. “New opportunity, new choice for both producers and consumers,” Vilsack said.

The USDA has also given Upper Iowa Beef in Lime Springs a nearly $9 million grant. The company’s expansion project should increase slaughter capacity by 50 percent, according to the USDA. A more than half a million dollar grant will support the relocation and expansion of the Cherokee Locker, a meat processing facility in Cherokee. The Region XII Council of Governments, based in Carroll, is getting $15 million from the USDA to support new or expanding meat processing facilities.

This week the USDA has awarded $223 million in grants and loans to 32 companies in 19 different states.

“We think it’s going to expand capacity in beef and pork and mixed processing by over 500,000 head per year,” Vilsack said. “We think it’s going to expand capacity in poultry nearly 34 million birds per year.”

Pure Prairie, the farmer-owned company that’s reopening the poultry plant in Charles City, expects to begin operations in mid-November.