The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has awarded $208,213 to a total of 46 Minnesota livestock processing plants to increase their processing capacity. This was in response to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "Nowhere did you see stronger evidence of COVID-19's impact on Minnesota agriculture than in the meat packing industry, where slow-downs and closures cause producers to have to make difficult decisions about what to do with their animals," said MDA Commissioner Thom Peterson said.

The grant funding did require a 1:1 match and the expenses had to make an immediate impact on Minnesota's capacity to process or store Minnesota raised livestock, poultry, milk and eggs. Almost every local livestock processing plant is booked to capacity for a number of months. "These grants are part of a coordinated effort to help increase processing capacity in Minnesota and help producers find local markets for their livestock to keep them in business," said MDA Commissioner Thom Peterson.