$5M in COVID-19 relief funds will go to SD meat processors, butchers

Rebekah Tuchscherer

Meat processors in South Dakota will get a helping hand after all, thanks to COVID-19 relief funds.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture will distribute $5 million in grants to qualifying butchers in response to market and workforce disruption, according to a news release.

Previously, Gov. Kristi Noem had asked the state legislature to approve House Bill 1040, which would have allocated $5 million to small butchers to expand their facilities and upgrade equipment in response to the strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, that legislation was tabled indefinitely by the House of Representatives, most likely because it was made known in committee by Rep. Chris Karr that federal relief funding was available for the project.

Grants will be available to processors with less than 60 employees that are state-inspected, licensed custom-exempt slaughter plants or very small federally-inspected plants.

Applications are now available on the Department of Agriculture website and are due May 1. Grants will be announced on May 25.

Anthony Roark seasons a slab of meat on Friday, November 20, at Look’s Marketplace in Sioux Falls.