By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon has relaunched a program designed to boost the capacity of the state’s meat processing facilities and ease the impact of meat supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he announced Wednesday.
Gordon relaunched the Wyoming Meat Processing Expansion grant program, which allocates up to $2 million in federal CARES funds to increase Wyoming’s local food supply chain security and capacity across the state.
“The significant processing bottlenecks that surfaced last year have not gone away,” Gordon said. “This program will continue to help improve our meat processing capacity and ensure Wyomingites have access to high-quality products. Our work assisting independent processors is important to our overall agriculture diversification efforts and helps to expand an important sector of our ag economy.”
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, major meat processing facilities across the country were forced to close, reducing the amount of meat reaching grocery store shelves and making it difficult for ranchers to get their meat processed.
In response, Gordon in September launched the meat processing plant relief program, setting aside money so processing plant operators could expand tehir operations.
The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is currently accepting applications for the program. The program offers grants of up to $500,000 to eligible businesses with a 50% match component for funding.
Initial priority will be given to entities and businesses that did not previously receive funding from the grant program in September.
Following this priority batch, applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve rolling basis until funds have been expended.
Applications will be reviewed for accuracy, eligibility, and completeness by the Wyoming Business Council, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the governor’s office.