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Missouri offering $20m to improve processing plants

Funds can be used for increasing smaller companies’ processing capacity and promoting worker safety.

The Missouri Meat & Poultry Processing Grant Program was created to help Missouri meat and poultry processing facilities address supply chain disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Missouri General Assembly appropriated $20 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act to help support these facilities.

The grant is based on a three-tiered system intended to incentivize facilities to increase livestock or poultry slaughter and processing and to become an inspected or exempted facility in the near term. Approved projects will aim to increase food supply resilience by increasing processing capacity and to promote worker safety as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  

"As a farmer, I understand firsthand the challenging circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has created within our agriculture community," Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said. "Agriculture is the state's number-one economic driver, and I'm thankful for Sen. Justin Brown's leadership as a fellow cattleman and public servant to make sure these additional needs will be addressed."

The reimbursement grant will be administered using a tiered system that offers up to $200,000 for each state- and federally inspected establishment that also conducts slaughter. State- and federally inspected establishments that further process meat and poultry products but do not conduct slaughter qualify for up to $100,000 in grant funds. Custom-exempt establishments may receive up to $20,000. Grants will be used to reimburse new and existing establishments for eligible expenses that are incurred from March 1 to Nov. 15, 2020.

"Every part of our food system was challenged during COVID-19," Missouri director of agriculture Chris Chinn said. "These funds will be put to work in our local communities to address the unmet needs of our small business community, benefiting both producers and consumers."

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, capital improvements, utility upgrades, livestock intake and storage equipment, processing equipment, packaging and handling equipment, employee testing strategies and more. Applications must be submitted by Aug. 31, 2020. The deadline for all expenditure and reimbursement documentation, as well as final reporting, is Nov. 30, 2020.

Additional information is available here.

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