The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Tuesday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 7, 2023
Committee clears Mayfield’s bill to support
local meat processors, protect supply chain
STATEHOUSE (Feb. 7, 2023) – The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Monday voted unanimously in support of State Rep. Peggy Mayfield’s (R-Martinsville) bill to improve food supply resilience through increasing local meat processing capacity and production.
During the pandemic, Indiana received a $4 million federal grant for small meat processors to improve facilities to meet a spike in demand and improve safety for workers. With that funding ending, Mayfield said she authored legislation to create a state Meat Processing Investment Grant Program and fund to be administered by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture along with a $10 million state investment.
“At the height of COVID-19, meat counters and shelves at the grocery were pretty scarce, and it was a wakeup call for many of us. Hoosiers who raised their own animals, 4-H participants and even hunters had difficulty securing a facility to process their animals. That’s something we can’t let happen again,” Mayfield said. “The federal grant funding provided during the pandemic was a lifeline for small meat processors, and we need to help ensure Indiana keeps building toward a more resilient food supply.”
If Mayfield’s bill passes, the maximum grant amount for each eligible applicant would be $500,000 and would require an equal investment from the applicant. Existing or startup commercial meat or poultry processors with under 500 employees that have a processing plant license in good standing with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health could qualify for funding. Grants could be used to buy land, construct or expand facilities, and modernize equipment and technology to better ensure food safety.