Extending a helping hand

Missouri meat and poultry processors receive $16.7 million in grants with help from MU Extension partnership.

Nov. 10, 2021

Nearly empty meat aisles are a burden producers, processors and consumers don’t want to face again. To prevent that, the Missouri Department of Agriculture awarded $16.7 million to keep 150 meat and poultry processors throughout Missouri going strong.

“Our local meat processors were the backbone of our food supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “Last year, our team doubled the amount of red meat under state inspection, so we know the demand is there.”

To spread the word about the grant, a rapid response team compiled a list of Missouri’s small processors and called each one individually to offer assistance.

“For processors who have never filled out a grant, it can be quite a daunting process,” said Jennifer Lutes, county engagement specialist and Missouri SBDC business counselor.

Lutes and fellow agricultural business counselors and MU Extension specialists helped processors work through the grant requirements and navigate the grant process — something many didn’t have time to do, as they were facing an unprecedented amount of business.

Kyle Whittaker was one of those specialists.

“Kyle helped us the entire way,” said Chet Bailey, of Chet and Bill’s Processing in Marshfield. “As busy as the year has been, without Kyle’s help I don’t think we would have been able to apply for and receive the grant we did.”

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