From the Indiana State Department of Agriculture:
Announced recently, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture awarded $4 million to forty-one Hoosier meat processing businesses through the Indiana Meat Processing Expansion & Development Grant Program. This funding was allocated to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local and small meat-processing agribusinesses in Indiana.
“Processing plants in our state are essential and this funding will help with a variety of necessities to strengthen this sector of our food supply chain,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “These grants will address issues caused by COVID-19 and help meet consumer demands in both normal and emergency situations.”
With a 50% cash match requirement for this grant opportunity, a total of at least $8 million will be invested in the Indiana small meat processing economy as a result of the grant program.
Funding was made available through Indiana’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) dollars and was announced by Crouch. This funding was delegated via a competitive grant and was scored by representatives across a variety of both external organizations and state agencies.
The funding was provided to address impacts and cover expenses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. The awardees can use the funding in a variety of ways so long as it aims to improve food supply resilience through promoting worker safety, expanding meat processing capacity and/or increasing slaughter. Many businesses are using the grants to purchase equipment or modify their facilities for increased efficiency. Some are using the funding to train additional staff and purchase personal protective equipment. The 41 awarded meat processors are Hoosier businesses with less than 500 employees.
“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted our nation’s delicate food supply chain, and it was clear we need workable options to get meat to markets and to protect consumers from supply chain disruptions,” said ISDA Director Bruce Kettler. “Meat processers are essential for our state, contributing more than $3.9 billion to our economy. It is vital we keep these businesses growing and operating safely.”
The application process showed the industry had a significant need with 60 applicants and a total of $6.8 million in funding requests. The map below highlights the 41 selected awardees and ISDA encourages Hoosier consumers to find a processor nearest them to shop local this holiday season.
A shortened list of more local awardees within the state is as follows: