Funding would facilitate meat cutting and butchery career pathways for students 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) and Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN) announced that they have secured $2 million in federal funding for meat processing workforce development in the Central Lakes region.

Specifically, this funding will facilitate an increase in meat cutting and butchery career pathways for students by enabling the Minnesota State Northern Agricultural Center to expand its training facilities and purchase new processing equipment at Central Lakes College in Staples. 

“A healthy meat processing industry is critical to the economic success of Central Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “This funding will help diversify local meat processing networks and give students valuable skills and training. I was proud to join my colleagues and local leaders to secure these resources and build a stronger meat processing workforce.” 

“Just a handful of large companies have come to dominate the meat and poultry processing industry, which means higher prices for consumers and shrinking earnings for small producers,” said Smith. “This project will help create a more competitive and diverse meat cutting and butchery industry. I’m proud of our work to secure this funding, which will help farmers and workers up and down the supply chain.” 

“The meat processing and butchery industries are a part of our way of life in greater Minnesota and it’s important that we have a well-trained workforce to keep all of our agricultural industries strong,” said Stauber. “I’m proud to have fought for this funding to bolster training programs to better prepare students for future success in their careers.”

“AgCentric, the Minnesota State Northern Center of Agriculture Excellence, is privileged to receive this funding to support the development of meat processing programs that will serve a critical workforce need. We are deeply appreciative of Senator Klobuchar’s support and commitment to rural Minnesota," said Keith Olander, Executive Director of AgCentric and Agricultural Partnerships with Minnesota State and Central Lakes College.

Central Lakes College President Dr. Hara Charlier added, “As a proud member of Minnesota State, Central Lakes College is excited to partner with Ridgewater College to ensure that northcentral Minnesota’s vibrant agricultural sector includes an outstanding meat cutting and butchery pipeline to meet critical workforce demand. We are deeply appreciative of the Senator’s support and look forward to working together to serve the needs of our region."

Klobuchar and Smith have been actively involved in securing this federal funding for projects benefiting communities in Minnesota through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). During the CDS process, Klobuchar and Smith have considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across Minnesota.

Projects are expected to receive funding over the next several months.