Summary: Independent meat and seafood processors have until May 14 to apply for Phase 3 of the Increasing Meat Production, Efficiency and Capacity grant program. A total of $6 million is available through the program, and can include value-added projects.
Earlier this year, listeners may remember that I gave an update on some of the projects that were awarded grants through Phase 1 and 2 of the Increasing Meat Processing, Efficiency and Capacity program.
Because of additional interest and the success of this program, the General Assembly approved $6 million in CARES Act money for Phase 3. With this latest round of funding, projects that focus on value-added processing can also be included.
Independent meat and seafood processors that are state or federally inspected can submit a proposal to be considered. There is a $400,000 limit on proposals and businesses must match $1 for every $2 in grant money, either in cash or services.
Covered project categories that will be considered include equipment and infrastructure, contractual/consultation, labor; training and retention, and other identified needs.
The application deadline is May 14.
Like the previous phases, these grants are intended to address some vulnerabilities we saw in the food supply during COVID. Increasing the local production of meats and seafood, helps ensure local access to proteins.
Producers reported increased interest in local meats and seafood, and they hope that many first-time or occasional customers will become regular, long-time customers.
When demand increased, processing slots filled up quickly, preventing farmers from taking animals in for processing or forcing them to take them out of state or farther away.
We are already seeing businesses increase sales as a result of additions they have been able to make through this program.
But, just as importantly, by investing in our local farmers and processors, this program helps strengthen our food supply, which impacts every one of us here in North Carolina.
You can find out more about this program along with a link to an application and guidance for applying at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website at www.ncagr.gov. You can also find additional contact names and numbers if you have additional questions.