A few West Michigan meat processors are recent beneficiaries of federal grant money to help the meat and poultry industry as it bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell jointly announced this week that $1.4 million has been awarded to processors throughout the state under the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program.
Ravenna-based Creswick Farms received $200,000 while Sarah Miles Cleveland J&A Meats, based in Newaygo, received $186,670.
Marshall-based Bosserd Brothers Meats LLC also received $199,887 under the program that awarded a total of $1.4 million to seven different meat processors in Michigan.
“Strengthening our food supply chain and expanding homegrown processing can help reduce food costs while creating new jobs,” Whitmer said in her announcement. “Our state is home to diverse and robust food and agriculture businesses that are a fundamental part of the MI New Economy plan to keep Michigan first. I appreciate USDA’s commitment to grow Michigan.”
The grant money can be used for a variety of purposes, including expanding and improving facilities, modernizing equipment and taking measures to meet federal packaging, labeling and food safety requirements.
In total, the USDA set aside $55.2 million to be distributed nationwide under the program.
Like many other industries, meat processors have grappled with workforce shortages and incurred additional expenses early in the pandemic to implement measures to keep workers socially distant from one another.
The cramps in the industry, in addition to inflation, have caused prices to soar, including a 20-percent increase in beef costs since October 2020.
“Michigan’s food and ag sector is an economic powerhouse generating billions for the economy and supporting jobs across the state,” McDowell said in a statement. “Our farmers and food-based businesses have been challenged on a number of fronts throughout the pandemic and these funds provide so much needed support.”