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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur is Excited About Increasing Meat Processing Capacity Through Grants Available Through CARES Act

Tue, 21 Jul 2020 11:50:04 CDT

Oklahoma Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur is Excited About Increasing Meat Processing Capacity Through Grants Available Through CARES Act Through the state's CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry received $10 million in grants for the Food Supply Stability Plan for Oklahoma meat processors.

"Agriculture processing never stopped during this pandemic," said Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur. "This grant money is an exceptional opportunity for our Oklahoma meat processing industry to add processing capacity. Changes within existing facilities, as well as adding more plants and expanding existing plants, would greatly help mitigate the effects we have seen on the food supply chain during this pandemic."

After a announcement on ZOOM that included comments from Governor Kevin Stitt, Senate Ag Committee Chair Casey Murdock, House Ag Committee Chair Dell Kerbs and Secretary Arthur, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with the Secretary about the grant money and how it can help meat processing grow in the state. Their conversation can be heard by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.

"In order to reduce Oklahoma's dependence on the current limited processors and lessen the risk of consequences of a facility shutting down, it is pertinent for our state to bolster development of this industry through capital for new construction, expansion, and equipment to protect against spread of illness in current plants," said Sec. Arthur.

The COVID-19 pandemic has directly and adversely impacted Oklahoma's food supply chain. From livestock harvesting and processing, to distribution, and retail availability for consumers, every aspect from farm to plate has been affected. For the first time, the current generation of Oklahomans has faced empty grocery store shelves while producers, processors, and transporters of agricultural and food products have dealt with oversupply of raw materials and been unable to get their products to market.

Secertary Arthur told Hays that one result that will come from these investments will be an increase in the weekly kill capacity in the state of Oklahoma. Currently, all of the facilities across the state combine to have only 800 head per week caapcity for custom slaughter and state inspected slaughter. That number should rise between now and the end of 2020, since the grant moneies must be used by the end of this calendar year.

From earlier today- You can listen to the comments of Secretary Blayne Arthur, Governor Kevin Stitt, Senate Ag Committee Chair Casey Murdock and House Ag Committee Chair Dell Kerbs on the Zoom conference by clicking here.

Here are more details about the Grants and how and when to apply for them:

GRANT INFORMATION : Due August 14th at 5:00 p.m. by emailing Jason.harvey@ag.ok.gov

Eligible Recipients and Projects:

    New and existing meat processing businesses will be eligible to apply for these grants up to $1,000,000 each to help construct new facilities or expand existing facilities to add to the state's overall processing capacity.
    This could include registered custom-exempt, state inspected, federally inspected establishments.
    Publicly traded companies are not eligible to apply.
    These grants can be used tao construct new plant space, invest in equipment, implement biosecurity upgrades, or develop a supporting service such as rendering.
    Grant funds cannot be used for payroll expenses or to purchase real property.

Award Process:

    Grant applications are due to ODAFF by August 14, 2020 and will be reviewed by the existing Agricultural Enhancement and Diversification Board using an evaluation form tailored to meat processing development.
    Points will be awarded based on extent of processing capacity the project will add, credibility and merit of the applicant based on business experience, timeliness of implementation, likelihood of success based on the business plan, and level of need in the given location of the facility.
    The requested amounts of each grant application is expected to vary significantly, but awards will be capped at $1,000,000.
    Applicants will be required to submit supporting documentation with applications justifying their expected expenses for a given project.
    The Advisory Board may recommend award of the full amount or a lesser amount than what is applied for.
    Once grants are awarded, funds will be disbursed, and recipients will be required to submit regular reports and receipts showing progress and how funds are utilized.
    Improvements to facilities occurring after March 1st are eligible for reimbursement.
    Award money must be expended by recipients by December 30, 2020.

For more information on applying or to access the grant application, call Jason Harvey at 405-606-1477 , email at Jason.harvey@ag.ok.gov or visit our website- available here.


Ron Hays talks with Secretary Blayne Arthur About the Grant Program for Meat Processing in Okla
right-click to download mp3


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