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Second round of livestock processing grants now open in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is opening up a second round of grants aimed at increasing the capacity for livestock processing plants and producers to 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.

“Many processors made investments to increase their capacity in order to respond to the industry wide slow-downs during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we want to help them recover some of those costs,” Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “Others may still be considering adding capacity and we want to encourage them to do so.”

The rapid response mini-grant for livestock processing will offer from $1,000 to $5,000 to applicants to offset the cost of expenses such as adding coolers, refrigeration units, slaughter and processing equipment.

Eligible applicants include processors of meat, poultry, eggs and milk located in Minnesota and Minnesota livestock producers who need storage capacity for processed products until existing markets return or new markets are developed.

Businesses that did not receive funding in the last round or did not receive the full $5,000 amount can apply.

Grant funds can be used to cover expenses incurred between March 2 and Nov. 30 and require a 1:1 match. Applicants must be in business at the time they apply.

The MDA awarded $208,213 to 46 Minnesota livestock processing plants and producers in its previous round of funding.

Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. Nov. 30, or until all funds are depleted, on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be submitted through the online application system.

For more information, visit the rapid response mini-grant for livestock processing webpage or email Courtney VanderMey at courtney.vandermey@state.mn.us.

Funding for the program is made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and is part of a $7.7 million plan announced earlier this month by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to support agricultural producers, meat processors and farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.