Washington, D.C. – As ongoing supply chain disruptions impact businesses and consumers, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that seven meat and poultry processors across Maine have received a total of $1,345,000 to help strengthen and streamline their operations. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program.
“Significant supply chain disruptions have placed financial pressure on Maine’s meat and poultry processors, created difficulties for farmers, and increased prices for consumers,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This funding will help meat and poultry processing facilities across the state improve the efficiency of their operations by expanding facilities, modernizing equipment, and ultimately helping to better serve customers. These awards will not only bolster local businesses and strengthen our local food systems, but it will also help reduce the impact on families’ grocery budgets.”
With this grant funding, meat and poultry processing businesses will be better able to meet packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, pursue new market opportunities, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain.
The funding was allocated as follows:
- West Gardiner Beef received $150,000 to install a cooler with rail access and product handling equipment, which will increase capacity by 5 to 8 beef cattle per week. The funding will also be used to upgrade a 45-year-old smokehouse, which will help accommodate more customers.
- Weston’s Meats and Poultry in Gardiner received $200,000 to expand its red meat and swine operating capacity by 75 percent to respond to growing demand. Weston’s expansion of the existing facility will improve operational efficiency and health and safety practices, as well as productivity.
- Hatch’s Custom Meat Cutting in Crystal received $200,000 to make improvements to the existing facility to accommodate a larger volume of livestock during months of higher demand. The expansion and selected reconfiguration will enable more efficient operations and result in increased productivity and processing capacity.
- Jason’s Butcher Shop in Albion received $200,000 to improve their sanitation operations amid the pandemic and upgrade equipment, including in the meat processing room, the smoker room, the kill floor, and the cattle handling area.
- Rooney’s Meat Shop in Mapleton received $195,000 to upgrade the newly constructed facility to meet the requirements to obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection. This will include elements like wall and ceiling surfaces, stainless steel rail systems, and other product moving equipment, cutting tables, inspected scales, air curtains, packaging and labeling equipment and refrigeration equipment.
- Colvard & Company in Southwest Harbor received $200,000 to improve meat processing capacity, develop new markets and expand markets, and increase access to their processing facility for smaller farms.
- Nest & Mullen in Kennebunk received $200,000 to rebuild its meat processing facility after suffering a devastating fire that destroyed its plant. The funding will allow the business to provide continued services to its customers in the community.