HVADC Program: 26 Meat Processing Expansion Grants Awarded Statewide
Nov 15, 2023
Funding is earmarked to support the increase of New York State sourced meat
The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has recently awarded 26 businesses $4.25 million through the Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program which it is administrating for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program. Processors from 19 counties across New York were included in the funding.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Grant program helps to fund projects to support the expansion of existing USDA inspected meat processing facilities and the establishment of new USDA inspected meat processing facilities in the state to increase the capacity of New York sourced meat. This addresses the nationwide shortage of affordable meat available to consumers, including the availability of protein sources for schools and institutional facilities in the state. The grant program makes it easier for beef, pork, lamb, goats, poultry, and seafood farmers to process their products within New York and get affordable, local meat into a variety markets, strengthening New York’s food supply chain and rural economies. The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program was sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey in Fiscal Year Budget 2022-2023.
“The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program is a key component of the Department’s work to ensure that New York has a resilient, local food supply chain, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a great partnership with HVADC, and with the support of Senator Hinchey, we are proud to see this program move forward and award some exciting projects. This funding will help to grow businesses across the state, support our farmers and producers, and ultimately increase New Yorkers’ access to high quality, locally sourced meat,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.
Applications were reviewed through a competitive process, and funds awarded until state funds were exhausted. An independent funding committee was convened by HVADC which oversaw the scoring and recommendations of the applications.
The first round of funding prioritized grant awards to 19 businesses which qualified as “Tier 1” processors. This designation is for entities currently operating with USDA inspection status and presenting plans to expand their operations. Additionally, 3 processors in the “Tier 2” category, which are existing facilities seeking to move to USDA-inspected status were funded. “Tier 3” processors, which are start-up projects, were also included in this round of grants, with 4 recipients being funded, and when built, will be USDA inspected status once they are complete. It is expected that the projects awarded will help the businesses expand processing capacity by over 4.8 million pounds annually, of which over 3.6 million pounds will be from New York farms.
“This grant program is so important to all the efforts that are being made to create a resilient food system across the state,” said Todd Erling, HVADC Executive Director. “It is filling a need that has been growing over the past few years to have more processors available in critical locations from south to north, and HVADC is pleased to be able to extend our impact throughout New York by administering it for Ag and Markets. It is a testament of the need, that we received 36 applications requesting over $7 million from throughout the state,” he continued.
The Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program is available for capital projects that can range from $50,000 to $250,000 on a reimbursement basis. For grants of less than $100,000, a 10% recipient match is required. For grants of $100,000 to $250,000, a 20% recipient match is required. Grant funds may be used for the acquisition and installation of machinery, equipment and fixtures, or installation, renovation/leasehold improvements to an existing building.
To be eligible for the grant program applicants must be involved in the processing of meat products and be a legally recognized business entity organization in New York State in good standing. Those with current USDA inspection status or seeking to become a USDA-inspected processor may apply. Applicants must submit a detailed project plan or proposal that outlines the expansion, retention or establishment of a USDA inspected meat processing facility in New York State, including a detailed budget and timeline for the project. They must also demonstrate how their proposed project will increase the capacity of processing New York State sourced meat.
“For those who did not have the opportunity to apply, or were not awarded, there are other resources available for meat processors, such as the USDA Rural Development’s Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program which is still open. We are available to help guide anyone who is interested in learning more about those sources to the appropriate organizations,” said Erling.
Erling was interviewed by Mike Sakell, host of Thunder Country Ag Report in an episode of the radio podcast which first broadcast December 9. In the airing he spoke about the impact this grant program will have on both the region’s farmers and consumers, as well as outlined additional federal and state programs which will be rolling out in the coming months and years to further support the resiliency of the area’s food system. He also noted HVADC peer and partner organizations which are involved in these efforts. The Thunder 102.1/104.5 Sullivan County broadcast may be listened to at https://open.spotify.com/episode/4gk8ZNDPKi9EPIiEQLHxlO.