The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $10.5 million in two South Dakota loan associations that aim to expand meat processing capacity in the state. The funds are part of the department’s Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.
The South Central South Dakota loan association known as Planning & Development District III will receive $2,375,000 to distribute to livestock operators throughout the south central part of the state.
“We’re hoping to help our local operations grow,” Executive Director Greg Henderson said. “And then they will be more successful and they won’t have so many problems in the future when we have economic downturns.”
The investments will boost livestock producer incomes, strengthen the meat supply chain, lower costs for consumers, and create jobs in rural South Dakota, Henderson said.
“We’re going to try to target the smaller processors first, and then we’ll move on up as the opportunity arises,” Henderson said.
Another statewide loan association, GROW South Dakota, plans to invest $8,125,000 into about 16 meat processors around the state.
“These funds will be able to help processors either purchase equipment, maybe expand a building, along with a variety of other items that will help not only the local producer, but ultimately the end consumer,” said Mark Nelson, a business loan officer with GROW South Dakota.
Nelson expects the projects funded with the influx of federal dollars won’t have trouble finding workers.
“We don’t find with our existing borrowers that labor is an issue because these are usually a little bit higher paying jobs,” Nelson said.
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