Manufacturers, processors and consumers do not want to face the burden of empty meatballs. To that end, the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently provided $ 16.7 million to strengthen 150 meat and poultry processors across Missouri.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, local meat processors were the backbone of our food supply chain, said Chris Chin, director of agriculture in Missouri. “Last year our team doubled the amount of red meat under government control, so we know there is demand.
Missouri meat and poultry processing donations helped bring 27 businesses under government control. It also provided 55 federally controlled facilities and 59 customs-free jobs for customers to process their cattle for personal use. In addition, the Missouri General Assembly has spent $ 20 million on antiviral assistance, relief, and economic security by 2020 to allow small processing plants to continue operating during the epidemic.
“Federally funded processors use this opportunity to expand their facilities, upgrade their equipment, and address some of the industry’s deepest manpower challenges,” said Malory Rahe, director of extension business and policy education at the University of Missouri.
Rahe will partner with MU Extension Business Development and Agricultural / Environmental Programs to lead the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for agriculture, food and forestry. She created a quick response team to teach financial support opportunities to organizers.
Jennifer Lutz, county engagement expert and Missouri SBCC business consultant leading the effort to improve Missouri meat processing industry at the new center, highlighted the importance of local processors.
“Large processors across the country have to be shut down, while smaller processors are flooded with processing questions,” said Lotus. “Most of Missouri’s small processors will be held for the next two years. Although many have doubled their processing capacity over the past few months, this past fall, process appointments have been filled.
He said the group has finalized a list of Missouri small processors to provide financial support. The list includes government-controlled plants, USAID-certified plants and private plants. Once the team had mapped all the maps, they started calling one by one for help.
“It can be a very difficult process for nonprofits,” says Lutus.
Lotus and SBDC Agricultural Trade Consultants and MU Extension Specialists Malory Rahe, Amy Breakers, Rachel Hopkins, Ryan Milholin, Eric Mowsh and Kyle Whitter helped coordinate through the requirements.
“Our team members have developed relationships with many small processors,” Whitter said. Most meat processors had unprecedented business experience and did not have time to complete many relief lists.
He said one of the obstacles he faced when choosing to go from a custom-free to a government inspection was that he was preparing a critical risk control (HCCP) plan for approval by MDA.
“Kyle has helped us all the way,” said Cheet Bailey, a chess and bill producer in Marshfield. “He first informed us of his assistance. Second, it helped us fill out the application, which was eventually vetted by the government and our HCCP. Kyle went with us to all our aid levels, and when the supervisor was here, he went out to see how the HACCP flow was going.
In partnership, MU Extension Agricultural Specialists is also working in the state’s extensive SBDC network and, in particular, as a Missouri SBC commercial consultant for agriculture, food and forestry. Extension specialists have a natural ability to expand Missouri SBC services through their knowledge, experience and social interactions, Rahe said. Their role with SBDC will enable the team to better understand cattle, commercial and crop growers, as well as food processors and forest producers.