116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
As Iowans clamor for more specialty meats, the state on Monday will start accepting applications for grants up to $50,000 for Iowa meat lockers to expand or improve their operations.
The new Butchery Innovation and Revitalization program is designed to help and improve the supply chain for meat products and boost rural development, according to a news release Friday.
“During the pandemic, it was evident that our small-scale meat processors were instrumental in helping to meet the consumer demand,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in the statement. “This program is the key to unlocking greater potential for those facilities by providing the resources needed to expand their processing capacity and help alleviate disruptions in the supply chain. This investment also will serve as a catalyst for jobs, rural revitalization and innovation.”
Earlier this year, the Iowa Legislature passed House File 857, which created the program and allocated $750,000 this year for grants. The bill also created a task force to study whether the state should start an artisanal butchery program at a state community college or university.
“Artisanal butchery would be being able to custom fabricate what the customer wants,” David Grunklee, dean of applied technologies at Hawkeye Community College, based in Waterloo, told The Gazette in late August.
At traditional meat-processing plants “all the chops will be cut to the same thickness, whereas an artisanal locker will ask you if you want them half-inch, three-quarters inch, an inch. It’s more about providing choices to the consumer that is having their animals processed there,” said Grunklee, who is on the task force.
The Edgewood Locker, with 59 full-time employees, has been doing small-scale meat processing since 1966. Located in Edgewood, on the border of Delaware and Clayton counties, the locker processes beef, pork, venison, goat and lamb for custom orders and retail, said co-owner Baili Maurer, who also is on the artisanal butchery task force.
The meat locker is expanding operations with a 19,000-square-foot addition to house the company’s sausage making, cooking and packaging operations.
Businesses that apply for the Butchery Innovation grants must be incorporated in Iowa or authorized to do business in the state and they must employee fewer than 50 employees. The company also must have a current license with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or be working with the state to get that license.
A draft application, FAQs and a checklist are available online at https://www.iowaeda.com/grow/butchery-innovation-revitalization/. For more program information, please contact Brad Frisvold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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