The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now taking applications for the second round of Livestock Processing grants. This program was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when many livestock processors slowed down or were shut down completely for a period of time. This cause a huge backlog of cattle and hogs ready for market with no processor to take them. Livestock producers were forced to make some very difficult decisions. Instead of euthanizing them they were willing to give them away to make room in their barns and feedlots.

Local lockers and processors were asked by their customers if they could process these "free" animals. Many of them were already busy with their usual customers plus many of them also processed deer during the hunting season. I heard many of them were booked into January 2121 or even later. "Many of these processors made investments to increase their capacity in order to respond to the industry wide slow-downs during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we want to help them recover some of those costs," Minnesota Commissioner Thom Peterson said.

Grants for local lockers and processors can be up to $5,000. Funding for the program came from the CARES Act. You can get more information on the webpage: Rapid Response Mini-Grant For Livestock Processing or email Courtney VanderMey at: Courtney.vandermey@state.mn.us. It does not sound like a lot of money when you think about adding a freezer or other equipment to increase capacity but every little bit helps right?