Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Local meat processors get grants to offset COVID impact

| September 27, 2020 12:00 AM

A recently announced second round of funding from the Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant program will contribute $4.2 million to 40 meat processing businesses across the state, in addition to the $7.5 million awarded in August.

The grants were created to support small- and medium-sized meat processors in Montana as they grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. Grants support in-state processing and help recipients increase their storage capacity.

Grant recipients in Northwest Montana include: H and D Meat Processing in Ronan; Integrity Oil and Gas in Eureka; M&S Meats in Kalispell; Perfect Cuts in Columbia Falls; and White’s Wholesale Meats in Ronan, which each will receive $150,000.

Stampede Packing Company in Kalispell will receive $142,700.

A full list of additional recipients is available on the Montana Department of Agriculture’s website, https://agr.mt.gov. 62 Montana meat processors received funding in the first round. The total award amount is now at nearly $12 million.

The grant program is funded by the state’s allocation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds.

“The meat processing infrastructure grant program received an incredible amount of interest, which goes to show just how crucial these investments are for Montana,” Gov. Steve Bullock said in a press release Wednesday. “These grants allow meat processors to expand their capacity to meet increased demand for local meat and protect consumers from future supply chain disruptions.”

Businesses have reportedly used the grants to purchase equipment that immediately increases their storage and processing capacity. Many are modifying their facilities to include slaughter floors and other business adaptations that give producers the option to sell their meat locally rather than shipping products out of state.

These adjustments are expected to benefit not only local meat processors, but also the entire nationwide meat supply chain, which experienced drastic disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application process for Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grants will not be reopened, according to a press release.