State Council offers $ 50,000 grants for small butchers

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The state is reportedly offering grants of up to $ 50,000 to small butchers under rules that received preliminary approval from the Iowa Economic Development Authority board of directors on Friday.

The rules, for which the board approved a “notice of intended action”, would implementt 857 house file, approved by lawmakers earlier this year. This legislation established the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Fund in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The bill also called for a study on the establishment of an artisanal butchery program in a community college. A state task force should do this work.

Typically, proposed rules are reviewed for final approval after notice, after a period of public comment.

Lawmakers wanted to support small specialty butcher shops both to promote innovation and to improve competition in the industry. IEDA is expected to offer grants, low-interest loans and forgivable loans from its current funds.

The initial legislative appropriation of $ 750,000 is intended to assist in the expansion or remodeling of small-scale meat processing facilities inspected by state or federal governments, including those located in mobile units or in leased spaces. .

IEDA director Debi Durham said she was unaware that operations in rented buildings would qualify, as the proposed rules indicate.

IEDA member Kristin Hanks-Bents said it was about helping young farmers who might not be able to afford a property.

Lawmakers have ordered that preference be given to projects that create jobs, expand opportunities for small farmers to market meat under a private label, and meet financial needs, for example.

Under the proposed rules, the state would offer assistance of up to $ 50,000 per claimant. More could be offered with the approval of the IEDA board if lawmakers were to come up with more money later. A committee appointed by IEDA and IDALS would assess the applications.

The program comes as President Biden works to reduce the influence of four major meat packers: Tyson, National Beef, JBS and Cargill. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last week announced $ 655 million in favor of small and medium-sized packaging enterprises to improve competition.


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