COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is seeking to improve meat processing capacity in the state with a new $3 million matching grant program. This funding will help local processing facilities thrive and employ more workers, assist the state’s more than 700 livestock farmers in serving local needs, and increase the supply of local meat for consumers.
“I’m thrilled to announce a program that has the power to transform our state’s agribusiness industry at the local level,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “Even small investments in meat processing can have a huge impact for farmers and consumers.”
Currently, many farmers transport their animals out of state for processing because of a lack of in-state capacity. South Carolina’s meat processors are small in scale. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed existing weaknesses in the food supply system, with larger out-of-state processors temporarily shutting down and local processors experiencing long backlogs at the same time consumers were seeking more local meat. Processors have also said they struggle with workforce training and retention.
Processors should visit agriculture.sc.gov/grants to learn more about the program and apply. The deadline to apply is January 13, 2023.
If awarded funding, South Carolina processing facilities can use the grant funds to expand their capacity through infrastructure and equipment improvements, as well as to train workers.
–Eva Moore, SCDA