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Over $200,000 awarded to boost livestock capacity

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has awarded $208,213 to 46 Minnesota livestock processing plants and producers to help them increase capacity for slaughter, processing and storage in the wake of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.

The MDA agricultural growth, research and innovation program’s rapid response mini-grant for livestock processing offered up to $5,000 to applicants to offset the cost of expenses such as adding coolers, refrigeration units, slaughter and processing equipment.

“Nowhere did you see stronger evidence of COVID-19’s impact on Minnesota agriculture than in the meatpacking industry, where slow-downs and closures caused producers to have to make difficult decisions about what to do with their animals,” MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “These grants are part of a coordinated effort to help increase processing capacity in Minnesota and help producers find local markets for their livestock to keep them in business.”

Other MDA efforts to help deal with capacity issues at Minnesota livestock processing plants included making earlier awards of $345,000 in value-added grants to nine Minnesota meat processors to help them increase capacity, working with existing equal-to processors to expand capacity and developing an expedited approval process for plants that want to sell wholesale.

The grant funding required a 1:1 match and expenses must make immediate impact on the state’s capacity to process or store Minnesota-raised livestock, poultry, milk and eggs.

The MDA awarded grants to 21 licensed, custom-exempt processing plants, 11 state equal-to processing plants, six USDA-inspected processing plants and eight livestock producers with storage needs.

For a complete list of the grant recipients, visit the AGRI livestock processing rapid response mini-grant page.