From Radio Iowa – A plan emerging from the Iowa House would provide 750-thousand dollars in grants to help small meat lockers with fewer than 50 employees expand. In addition to the money, a bill that’s passed the House would set up a task force to study creation of a butcher program at a community college or Iowa State University. Representative Phil Thompson of Jefferson says the pandemic highlighted the need for small-scale, local meat processing.
(as said) “Many of us remember walking into our grocery stores, only to find empty meat cases,” Thompson says. “…We saw outbreaks and closures of some of our larger meatpacking plants and a supply chain that struggled to keep up with demand.”
The proposed state grants could be used to buy more space or equipment, like refrigerators and freezers, for meat lockers. The money is included in a separate bill for the Iowa Economic Development Authority — the state agency that would hand out the grants. Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City says there’s a definite need, since many Iowa meat lockers aren’t taking orders until next year.
(as said) “Past that, I think that it speaks to a greater interest in our state and many other places the where people are looking to find a connection to local agriculture”.
Nebraska’s legislature is considering a different route to expanding consumer access to local protein. Nebraska’s bill would let consumers buy shares in live animals, the livestock would be slaughtered and processed by a custom butcher and the meat would not be subject to federal inspection.