Ohio announces availability of $14m in meat processing funding

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Ohio announces availability of $14m in meat processing funding

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik recently announced the availability of funding to support Ohio livestock and poultry producers with improvements and expansions to meat processing services.

“The need for meat processing services is significant, and it’s our job to ensure that Ohio companies have the support they need to continue to feed Ohio’s families,” said Gov. DeWine. “Not only that, but this program creates jobs and supports the future of an essential industry in Ohio.”

A total of $14 million dollars is available through the Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program. Ohio livestock and poultry producers can apply for grants of up to $500,000 through the program.

“The agriculture industry is critical to Ohio’s economy and we’re helping to ensure job security and food security through the meat processing grant program,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “These grants help smaller producers and processors upgrade their equipment and meet the level of productivity and efficiency they need to compete.”

Eligible costs include new and upgraded machinery, other equipment and technology products, and plant construction or expansion for confinement, processing, and refrigeration. Eligible applicants include federal or state-registered meat harvesting or processing facilities in Ohio.

The Department of Development administers the program in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“Ohio meat processing grant funding is critical for Ohio’s meat processors to keep up with demand,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge. “We know this investment will enable processors to expand their operations, strengthen the food supply chain and contribute to our state’s economic growth.”

In 2022, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Meat Inspection licensed 281 meat and poultry businesses. Ohio’s meat and poultry processing industry has experienced an unparalleled period of growth fueled in part by grants provided by Governor DeWine and the General Assembly. Since 2020, the division has seen a 23% increase in licensed fully inspected slaughter establishments.

In the first three rounds of funding, 128 grants were awarded to meat processors in 59 of Ohio’s 88 counties, totaling nearly $28 million. Hurdwell, a meat processing facility in Northwest Ohio, received a $250,000 grant through the program to purchase new meat processing equipment, hire and train new meat cutters, and improve efficiencies in slaughter and processing.

“Through the Meat Processing Grant, we were able to get multiple pieces of new equipment, including a smoker which allowed us to add five new lines of product, including beef jerky,” said Katie Kramer, co-owner of Hurdwell. “Meat processing equipment is very expensive, and this grant played a pivotal role in our ability to remain a sustainable custom and retail meat processor for years to come.”

Additional funding for the program was made possible with support from the 135th Ohio General Assembly in House Bill 33.

Applications and program information are available on the program webpage at development.ohio.gov/MeatProcessing. The application will close June 3.

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