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Funds available to protect Minnesota livestock processors

Minnesota milk, meat or poultry processors can access financial support to provide a safe environment for employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic through a new cost-share program from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, according to a press release.

USDA- and state-licensed processors located in Minnesota with fewer than 200 employees can apply by Dec. 4 for the Protect Our Milk, Meat, and Poultry Processors (POMMPP) Cost-Share program.

Expenses that may be eligible for reimbursement include equipment purchases related to complying with the MDA’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for food processors and manufacturers, costs associated with increased inspections or becoming inspected, and costs associated with consultations to develop COVID-19 operating plans.

Any expenses submitted for reimbursement must be incurred between March 2 and Dec. 4. Reimbursement will be based on the number of applications received and the amount of funds available. Payments may be capped due to limited funding.

Expenses related to processing equipment are not eligible for reimbursement under the program. However, meat and poultry processors may be eligible for up to $5,000 through the rapid response for livestock processing mini-grant program, which is accepting applications through Nov. 30.

Funding for the POMMPP program is available through funds granted to the state of Minnesota through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.