The state Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced a $20 million grant program for Missouri meat and poultry processors on Wednesday, saying it will increase food supply chain resilience in the Show-Me State.
The $20 million comes from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds. Governor Mike Parson and MDA Director Chris Chinn made the announcement. Chinn tells Capitol reporters that the funds will increase livestock and poultry processing capacity.
“During COVID-19, our food supply was tested from farm to fork,” Chinn says. “Farmers and ranchers saw tight livestock supplies on their farms, while consumers saw their choices of certain cuts of meat shrink or go away.”
Chinn says the cost of meat increased in some cases.
The governor says the grant program for smaller Missouri meat and poultry processors is for plants with less than 200 employees. Parson says it’s aimed at increasing livestock and poultry processing capacity across the state.
The Legislature approved the bipartisan funding in May, which is aimed at helping the plants address supply chain disruptions.
Director Chinn says every part of our food system has been challenged during COVID-19.
“Examples of eligible expenses include but are not limited to capitol improvements that expand capacity, utility upgrades like cold storage, processing equipment, packaging equipment and more,” says Chinn.
Utility upgrades include water, electric, refrigeration and heat. The application deadline is August 31.
Director Chinn describes the grant program as “a win-win” for farmers and consumers. She tells Missourinet that there are hundreds of eligible facilities around Missouri.
“So we have 180 (plants) that are federal or state-inspected, and we have about 300 that are custom exempt inspected,” Chinn says.
State Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla, led the bipartisan legislative effort in May, for the funding.
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