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Independent meat and seafood processors can apply for grant to improve production, efficiency and capacity

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened the application period for the third phase of its Increasing Meat Production, Efficiency and Capacity (IMPEC) grant program, which is geared to independent state meat and seafood processing facilities.

“The COVID pandemic showed us vulnerabilities in the food supply chain and the need for local products to meet consumer demand,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We are already seeing benefits to agribusinesses, farmers and consumers from phase one and two of this program, and we want to build on that momentum. A total of $6 million in grants will be available in this third phase, with a limit of $400,000 per project.”

Funding for this cost-share program was approved by the N.C. General Assembly and comes from federal CARES Act money earmarked for North Carolina.

In addition to increasing production, efficiency and/or capacity, projects can also include value-added processing. Project categories can include equipment and infrastructure, contractual/consultation, labor; training and retention and other identified needs.

To be eligible for grant funding, applicants must contract with independent livestock producers or seafood harvesters to process animals or seafood and must be state or federally inspected, or it must produce further processed meat products under state or federal inspection or be a USDA inspected processor of shelf-stable meat or meat products. Recipients must match $1 in funds or services for every $2 in grant funding. Cash or services must come from non-federal and/or state sources and matching funds cannot be used as a match for any other federal or state cost-share project.

The grant application and required forms can be downloaded from the NCDA&CS website at www.ncagr.gov. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by close of business May 14.

For questions about the program, contact Joe Hampton at 704-880-2488, Kelly Powell-McIver at 984-239-5548 or Sam Brake at 252-245-2667. For more information on the application process, contact Allison Medlin at allison.medlin@ncagr.gov or at 919-693-2483.

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