Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a new $6 million capital grant program designed to strengthen the meat and poultry supply chain by helping independently owned meat processing companies in Illinois build capacity and create and retain jobs.
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Through the Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program, companies are eligible for grants of $250,000 to $1.5 million, with a company match of at least four times the amount awarded.
"The Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program is part of Illinois' holistic effort to lower the costs of consumer goods for Illinois families," said Governor JB Pritzker. "By building capacity in Illinois' meat processing industry, we are strengthening the supply chain, creating and retaining jobs and working to lower costs for families."
In the wake of the pandemic, meat prices have increased considerably, in part due to limited capacity and lack of competition. The Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program aims to support communities by helping independently owned companies build capacity, create jobs and ultimately, strengthen our meat processing supply chain in Illinois, thereby making food products more affordable and accessible.
In order to achieve these goals, eligibility is restricted to plants that are not operated by the four largest meat processing companies that own most of the nation's meat processing market share.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index for meats increased by 23 percent from March 2020 to August 2022, led by a 22.9 percent increase for beef and veal and a 24.6 percent increase for pork.
With meat accounting for half of all food price increases for families in 2021 the Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program will provide critical support for companies as they work to build capacity. Grants will be issued on a rolling basis; interested parties can find more information on the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) here.
Through the program, companies can receive funding for the construction of a new facility, expanding or renovating existing facilities, and modernizing processing and manufacturing equipment. As part of DCEO's commitment to equity, the application process prioritizes applicants located in underserved and rural areas. ■