New funding for local farmers and meat processors
By Charlene Andersen
We all know how the meat processing industry struggled with the impacts of the pandemic from the beginning, when outbreaks at the country’s largest processing plants disrupted the supply chain and created shortages on grocery store shelves. New Hampshire's farmers and processors experienced extraordinarily high demand for their products, but found their growth limited by the lack of skilled workers and the high cost of expanding their capacity.
News from the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food will help these processors overcome some of those barriers and build some resiliency. The Meat Processing Infrastructure Program (MPIP) provides funding that local farmers and meat and poultry processing facilities can use to purchase, for example, a ground beef patty maker, walk-in cooler, or a meat slicer. The funds could also be used to help offset costs for a smokehouse or refrigerated delivery vehicles. The grants will support labor-saving efficiencies, encourage value-added products, and provide capital investments and other related infrastructure improvements.
The N.H. Community Loan Fund works with meat producers and processors. We hear the challenges they face to make strategic infrastructure investments, and we're here to help. MPIP grants require a 15% match from the applicant, and farmers and processors who don’t have the cash on hand can reach out to us to discuss their need for the match. We are already working with beginner farmers to apply for an equipment grant for their custom butchery.
We applaud Commissioner Shawn Jasper and all those involved in making this funding happen. The meat processors and the farmers who use their services will benefit, and so will all of us eaters.
Charlene Andersen is the Community Loan Fund's Farm Food Lender.