Grants will provide resources and equipment for students in meat processing career pathways

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $2.9 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan to strengthen local meat processing in Central Minnesota.

Specifically, the funding grants will help provide mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for students enrolled in meat processing career pathways at Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College. 

“A healthy meat processing industry is critical to the economic success of Central Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “By giving students access to valuable resources and training, this grant will help strengthen our state’s meat processing sector.”

“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 farmers,” said Smith. “This new investment will make Minnesota’s meat processing sector more dynamic and competitive while supporting hundreds of jobs. I am proud of our work to pass the American Rescue Plan, which made this program possible.”

Klobuchar and Smith have long worked to support local meat processing. Last month, they secured major federal funding through the Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS) process to increase meat cutting and butchery career pathways in Central Minnesota. 

In December 2020, Klobuchar and Senator Jerry Moran’s bipartisan RAMP-UP Act, which Smith co-sponsored, was signed into law. This legislation provided grants to meat processors to make the improvements necessary for federal inspection, a prerequisite for being authorized to sell produce across state lines. The bill created the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG), which helps small and midsized processors increase production capacity and access new market opportunities.