Blaine’s Bulletin: Supporting Missouri Meat Producers
It only takes a couple minutes of watching TV or listening to the radio to be reminded of the many challenges COVID-19 presents. Depending on where in Missouri you live, we’ve had to make major changes in our day to day lives. What we don’t hear enough about are the various ways people are rising to the challenge. Here in the Third District, our local meat processors and butchers are extremely busy. COVID-19 has forced many larger processing plants to close for lack of workers, making smaller businesses the go-to place for farmers and ranchers during this time. Our state’s small businesses have jumped in to fill the gap and are doing it very well.
At the start of the pandemic, the closures of processing plants caused a supply chain disruption resulting in food shortages. Farmers couldn’t get their meat processed, and consumers couldn’t buy the food they needed to feed their families. Instead of just waiting for a solution to present itself, our farmers worked with the Missouri Farm Bureau to create the Meat Producer Directory, a great resource for Missourians to be able to buy beef, pork, lamb and poultry directly from meat producers right here in our state. The directory has been extremely helpful in finding smaller, family owned businesses to purchase food and support our local economy and neighbors. To find a meat producer near you, please visit mofb.org/missouri-meat-producers.
Fortunately, the Missouri Department of Agriculture just recently announced a $20 million grant for our state’s smaller meat processing businesses from CARES Act funding to help these businesses handle the increased demand. Operations with fewer than 200 employees are eligible, so this money is only going to the small businesses who really need it. The application deadline for the Missouri Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program is August 31, so be sure to check on your eligibility and get your application in soon. More information can be found at agriculture.mo.gov/abd/financial.
We are still working to recover, but we will get there. Hopefully, most students will be back in school soon with the appropriate safety precautions, our economy will continue to bounce back, and life will begin to safely get back to normal for most of us. In the meantime, if there’s anything my office can do to help, we’re just a phone call away.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.