This is a critical time for beef processors and producers. On the heels of COVID-19 work staffing is at an all-time low while, products are in short supply and the rising cost of doing business is reaching a critical point for many business owners.

On Thursday South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced a $5 million grant for small South Dakota meat processors. The funding is made available through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Meat Processing Grant program.

The processors need to keep up with the demand for beef products and this grant is a positive first step to that goal.

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“As COVID-19 and the latest cyber-attacks on JBS have shown, it is critical to have a resilient and diversified food supply chain,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Unfortunately, consolidation and anticompetitive practices in the meatpacking industry have made life difficult for South Dakota meat producers. This grant program will help us expand our processing operations, which will give more options for producers and consumers alike.”

In a press release, the Meat Processing Grant program received more than 100 applications. Ninety-nine applications, including 16 new facilities and 83 existing facilities, were approved for funding with awards ranging from $9,000 to $108,207.

South Dakota Stock Growers Association executive director James Halverson said, “Just last week only 12 percent of the cattle sold were bought on the open cash market. That's not good for our industry. That's hurting our producers."

Dakota Radio Group also contributed to this story.

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