ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has awarded $208,213 to 46 Minnesota livestock processing plants and producers to help them increase capacity for slaughter, processing and storage in the wake of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MDA Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) offered up to $5,000 to offset the cost of expenses such as adding coolers, refrigeration units, slaughter and processing equipment.

The grant funding required a 1:1 match and expenses must make immediate impact on the state’s capacity to process or store Minnesota-raised livestock, poultry, milk and eggs.

The MDA awarded grants to 21 licensed, custom-exempt processing plants, 11 state equal-to processing plants, six USDA-inspected processing plants and eight livestock producers with storage needs.

Other MDA efforts to help deal with capacity issues at Minnesota livestock processing plants included making earlier awards of $345,000 in value-added grants to nine Minnesota meat processors to help them increase capacity, working with existing Equal-To processors to expand capacity, and developing an expedited approval process for plants wanting to sell wholesale.

For a complete list of the grant recipients, visit https://www.mda.state.mn.us/agri-livestock-processing-rapid-response-mini-grant

This article was submitted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.