BUSINESS + ECONOMY

$1B to be made available to small meatpacking plants

Apr 8, 2022, 11:49 AM | Updated: Apr 12, 2022, 7:34 am
visitors at a meatpacking plant...
Visitors tour the new West Liberty Foods processing plant in Tremonton on August 7, 2007. Photo credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The federal government will make a billion dollars in grant money available to small meatpacking plants. The grant aims to give smaller companies a better chance to compete with the major firms that dominate the industry.

Smaller meatpacking companies will be able to apply for a share of the billion dollars in federal money. The money can be used in order to help the plants expand and improve their operations.

One state official thinks the money would improve Utah’s food security.

Linda Gilmore with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food told the Deseret News that having meat available from local companies would keep the state from depending too much on the big corporations that process most of the meat around the country.

Gilmore said Utah’s supply chain is fragile, and food security depends on small and medium-sized plants.

Many Utah ranchers send their cattle out of state for processing, even though the meat would be worth more than three times what the live animal sells for.

Brett Behling, who works with the Utah Farm Bureau as the director of Farmers Feeding Utah, said many smaller plants may not want to take on additional debt and the hassles of federal paperwork because they already have all the work they can handle.

He said he would apply for the funds in hope that it will help to increase his operation’s profits. 

Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Brett Behling as a board member of the Utah Farm Bureau. He is an employee.

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$1B to be made available to small meatpacking plants