INDIANAPOLIS — The state of Indiana is allocating $4 million of federal CARES Act funding to help meat processing plants in the state recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced that the funds would be used for the Indiana Meat Processing Expansion and Development Grant Program.
"Indiana's agricultural economy is a driving force for our state and it is critical these agribusinesses receive the resources needed to get back on track," Crouch said. "This grant program will offer much-needed funding for small and family-operated processing businesses, and we encourage them to share their increase of products with Hoosiers."
State officials said the national food supply chain disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic illustrated why Indiana needs to support and expand regional small-scale facilities that producers and consumers can access during both normal and emergency situations.
"Our agricultural community has been through many difficult situations the last few months," Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, said. "These CARES Act funds will go a long way in shoring up our food supply chain by increasing resilience at our processors and helping to lessen processing wait times for both farmers and consumers."
The program, which will be administered by ISDA, will reimburse up to 50% of eligible expenses, with a maximum award of $150,000. Only eligible costs incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020 will be reimbursed under program guidelines.
According to the state, the funds will be a one-to-one match on investments and can be used for equipment purchases, personal protective equipment, food safety equipment, facility upgrades, and employee training, among others.
Applicants must represent an existing business with fewer than 500 employees and have at least one federal or BOAH-regulated livestock processing or slaughter facility located in Indiana.