Meat Processing Grant Funding Now Available Through CARES

Mike Seals - July 21, 2020 10:57 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. —  Through the state’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry received $10 million in grants for the Food Supply Stability Plan for Oklahoma meat processors.

“Agriculture processing never stopped during this pandemic,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur. “This grant money is an exceptional opportunity for our Oklahoma meat processing industry to add processing capacity. Changes within existing facilities, as well as adding more plants and expanding existing plants, would greatly help mitigate the effects we have seen on the food supply chain during this pandemic.”

This grant funding of $10,000,000 would allow Oklahoma meat processors to build or expand their businesses and create additional meat processing capacity in Oklahoma, mitigating risks of plant shutdowns and ensuring continued meat availability.

“In order to reduce Oklahoma’s dependence on the current limited processors and lessen the risk of consequences of a facility shutting down, it is pertinent for our state to bolster development of this industry through capital for new construction, expansion, and equipment to protect against spread of illness in current plants,” said Sec. Arthur.

The COVID-19 pandemic has directly and adversely impacted Oklahoma’s food supply chain. From livestock harvesting and processing, to distribution, and retail availability for consumers, every aspect from farm to plate has been affected. For the first time, the current generation of Oklahomans has faced empty grocery store shelves while producers, processors, and transporters of agricultural and food products have dealt with oversupply of raw materials and been unable to get their products to market.

SUPPORT FROM OKALHOMA AGRICULTURE GROUPS

  • “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant shortfalls in our nation’s food supply chain, but we’re pleased to see that our leadership is on the way to correcting these issues within our state. These grants will help ease one of the major challenges Oklahoma ranchers have faced in 2020—the inability to get their animals to consumers. These grants will augment our smaller meat processors, increase capacity and ease the backlog we’re currently facing. Increased market access and decreased risk of food shortages is a win-win for ranchers and consumers alike.” –Scott Blubaugh, AFR/OFU Cooperative President
  • “Oklahoma has a large number of small hog producers and youth with 4-H and FFA swine projects. These farmers and youth need additional markets and processing opportunities for their hogs,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, Oklahoma Pork Council executive director. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of Gov. Stitt and Sec. Arthur to secure funding and create opportunities for processors across the state to expand access for these farmers and our youth.”—RoyLee Lindsey, Jr., Executive Director OK Pork Council
  • “Many Oklahoma ranchers and agricultural producers have been devastated by the unprecedented disruptions in our nation’s food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though there was never a shortage of livestock being raised on Oklahoma farms and ranches, a decrease in processing facility space left many grocery store meat counters without their usual abundance while Oklahoma agricultural producers battled with low prices as our food system adjusted to ever-changing realities. The $10 M in grants for Oklahoma meat processing startups and expansions, secured by Gov. Stitt and Sec. Arthur, will provide a great step toward increasing processing capacity in our state and in turn, build strong, local markets for agriculture producers while ensuring a safe, stable food supply for all Oklahomans.” –Rodd Moesel, OK Farm Bureau President
  •  “As our joint task force has emphasized, in order to further enhance our state’s beef cattle industry, we need more packing and processing facilities.  Under Sec. Arthur’s leadership, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association appreciates Gov. Stitt recognizing this need by prioritizing funds for further development of this key piece of the beef supply chain.  These funds will not only benefit local rural processing facilities, Oklahoma beef cattle ranchers will have more marketing opportunities for their high-quality beef cattle.” –Michael Kelsey, OK Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice-President

GRANT INFORMATION : Due August 14th at 5:00 p.m. by emailing [email protected]

Eligible Recipients and Projects: 

  • New and existing meat processing businesses will be eligible to apply for these grants up to $1,000,000 each to help construct new facilities or expand existing facilities to add to the state’s overall processing capacity.
  • This could include registered custom-exempt, state inspected, federally inspected establishments.
  • Publicly traded companies are not eligible to apply.
  • These grants can be used tao construct new plant space, invest in equipment, implement biosecurity upgrades, or develop a supporting service such as rendering.
  • Grant funds cannot be used for payroll expenses or to purchase real property.

Award Process: 

  • Grant applications are due to ODAFF by August 14, 2020 and will be reviewed by the existing Agricultural Enhancement and Diversification Board using an evaluation form tailored to meat processing development.
  • Points will be awarded based on extent of processing capacity the project will add, credibility and merit of the applicant based on business experience, timeliness of implementation, likelihood of success based on the business plan, and level of need in the given location of the facility.
  • The requested amounts of each grant application is expected to vary significantly, but awards will be capped at $1,000,000.
  • Applicants will be required to submit supporting documentation with applications justifying their expected expenses for a given project.
  • The Advisory Board may recommend award of the full amount or a lesser amount than what is applied for.
  • Once grants are awarded, funds will be disbursed, and recipients will be required to submit regular reports and receipts showing progress and how funds are utilized.
  • Improvements to facilities occurring after March 1st are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Award money must be expended by recipients by December 30, 2020.

For more information on applying or to access the grant application, call Jason Harvey at 405-606-1477 , email at [email protected] or visit our website at http://www.ag.ok.gov/mktdev/meatgrant.htm

 

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