More funding has been allocated to The North Dakota Meat Processing Plant Cost-Share Program to help meat processing plants keep up with increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is designed to help provide cost-share assistance to North Dakota meat processing plants to upgrade their current facilities and equipment. Qualified improvements include purchasing stuffers, grinders or additional processing equipment and equipment or rooms to increase capacity in coolers and freezers due to increased slaughter.

“The pandemic caused supply chain impacts in the meat processing industry, and this funding will bring more processing capability to the state. The additional funding will help even more plants upgrade facilities and equipment to create efficiencies that will allow them to increase capacity and ultimately will increase the local availability of meat,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.

The program was started with $1.3 million in funding to assist state-inspected and custom exempt meat processing plants. So far, 46 plants in North Dakota have received funding from the first wave of the program. Another $2.7 million recently was approved by the state Emergency Commission for the program with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, for total program funding of $4 million.

Current North Dakota federal meat processing plants were mailed letters and applications for the program. State-inspected and custom-exempt meat processing plants do not need to reapply if they have already submitted an application. The program will reimburse a portion of expenses depending on the total amount of received and approved applications of those eligible.