New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) today announced a grant opportunity totaling $5 million for projects to expand existing or establish new meat processing facilities. The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program aims to address the nationwide shortage of affordable meat available to consumers, increase capacity of New York’s processing facilities, and support agribusinesses.
Commissioner Ball said, “One of the biggest lessons we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic was how crucial it is to have a strong, resilient, local food supply chain. Over the last few years, we have been doubling down on our efforts to strengthen New York’s food processing facilities to help our local producers expand to new markets and keep our grocery stores stocked with fresh, healthy New York foods. This funding will directly support our meat industry, which has continued to struggle with capacity following the pandemic. I encourage all New York processors who are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity that will help grow their business, stabilize the industry, and increase consumers’ access to high quality, locally sourced meat.”
HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling said, “It’s been a tough couple of years for the meat producers in our region. With increased demand for locally sourced proteins, the lack of capacity at the USDA-inspected processing facilities has hindered many in getting their products to market. Helping facilities to expand and getting more online will be a win-win for both the farmers as well as consumers – creating more marketing opportunities for the producers, and lower costs and greater access for New Yorkers.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “The number one business challenge our meat farmers face is the shortage of meat processing facilities, and in response to this issue, we developed New York’s first-ever statewide grant program to expand facilities and create new business opportunities. This industry-bolstering funding will not only make it easier for farmers to process their products but lower families’ weekly grocery store costs and strengthen New York’s food supply chain. I’d like to thank Ag and Markets and Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation for their partnership in establishing this important opportunity, and I encourage all of New York’s meat farmers to take advantage of this significant support.”
Following the food supply chain challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic, many food industries saw an increased demand for locally sourced products, especially in meat processing. To address the shortage of meat processing facilities, Governor Hochul and the NYS Legislature, particularly Senator Hinchey, supported legislation creating the $5 million Meat Processing Expansion Grants program to expand existing facilities or open new facilities. The grant program is funded by the Department and administered by HVADC. The program is designed to make it easier for beef, pork, lamb, goats, poultry, and seafood farmers to process their products and get affordable, local meat into a variety of consumer and institutional markets, strengthening New York’s food supply chain and rural economies.
The grant program, which is New York’s first-ever statewide grant program for meat processing, is available for capital projects that can range from $50,000 to $250,000 on a reimbursement basis. For grants of less than $100,000, a 10% recipient match is required. For grants of $100,000 to $250,000, a 20% recipient match is required. Grant funds may be used for the acquisition and installation of machinery, equipment and fixtures, or leasehold improvements. Applications are being accepted until June 21, 2023. Funding will be awarded on a competitive basis. Funds will be available until state funds have been exhausted.
To be eligible for the grant program, applicants must be involved in the processing of meat products and be a legally recognized business entity organization in New York State in good standing. Those with current USDA inspection status or seeking to become a USDA-inspected processor may apply. Applicants must submit a business plan and project proposal that outlines the expansion, retention or establishment of a USDA inspected meat processing facility in New York State, including a detailed budget and timeline for the project. They must also demonstrate how their proposed project will increase the capacity of New York State sourced meat.
To learn more about the Meat Processing Expansion Grant program, or to apply, visit https://www.hvadc.org/nys-meat-processing-grant.