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Local Meat Processor To Increase Capacity With State Grant

PRINEVILLE, OR-- Oregon’s Department of Agriculture is awarding $2 million in grants to six meat processors, including $105,598 for Prineville's Central Oregon Butcher Boys. ODA’s Theresa Yoshioka says the legislature approved the funding to increase capacity when the pandemic caused food supply-chain issues, "As people became concerned about availability of meat, they turned to local supplies. And our local producers used these processors to process their meat for the local market. There was so much demand, and our producers - meaning the ranchers and farmers - weren’t able to get their animals processed locally." She says in some cases, the backlog grew to three years long.

"Oregon has many small ranchers and farmers that want to produce and supply to the local market, and having more local processors enables them to do that," Yoshioka tells KBND News. Recipients will use the funds to expand their processing capacity and shorten turnaround, "Address some aging equipment or cooling systems that are a bottleneck in their process, or it’s to do upgrades and make things more efficient." 

It also means ranchers don’t have to send meat to the midwest for processing, "Oregon consumers care about local and there is a demand for local meat," says Yoshioka, "And having this kind of a stronger food system in Oregon will help to provide that."

ODA received 44 applications but only six grants were awarded to processors in Elgin, Prineville, Roseburg, Bandon, Parkdale and Hillsboro, in an effort to reach every corner of the state. 

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