MDA has awarded millions to bolster small meat processors
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $16 Million dollars to bolster 150 small meat and poultry processors.
Ag Director Chris Chinn tells Brownfield the grants have gone to 56 state inspected facilities, 17 brand new custom-exempt processors and for improvements at 62 existing USDA and state inspected operations.
“Those men and women were the true heroes of the pandemic. They took on extra work. They worked seven days a week, very long hours, to try and help the farmers and ranchers in their rule communities and the challenges they were met with were big.”
She says the pandemic opened consumers eyes, who, for the first time saw empty grocery store shelves.
“We did see a lot of consumers starting to reach out to farmers directly wanting to purchase a quarter of beef or a half a hog to put into their freezers. I think they like that – that’s fewer trips to the grocery store for them but it’s also good for our farmers and ranchers to be able to do some of that direct marketing for the farmers who want to do that.”
Chinn says the state doubled the amount of red meat under inspection last year so they know the demand is there. The state legislature made $20-Million dollars available through the federal CARES act to make sure small processing plants can be sustained.
Brownfield interviewed Director Chinn at the Missouri State Fair.