SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – In the last week, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced $5 million in business recovery funding, which will go to livestock producers and small meat and poultry plant operations that continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The state government issued these funds from its Business Interruptions Grants (BIG). The money will also come from the CARES Act.  

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Department has worked closely with the agriculture industry to understand and respond to the challenges they currently face,” said Jerry Costello II, acting director of IDOA. “I’m proud of the way Illinois’ farmers, small businesses and commodity groups came together to keep the food chain secure. These dollars enable farmers’ continuity of operations while providing our small meat and poultry plants the ability to make necessary improvements to expand animal throughput and capacity.”

Illinois set up three programs for business to access these funds including:

  • The swine depopulation program, which covers the costs and expenses of swine producers associated with the depopulation and disposal of livestock due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by COVID-19 on or after April 15, 2020. Applicants can receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • The agriculture business interruption program covers monetary losses and expenses of livestock producers due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by COVID-19 during the period of April 15 to May 15, 2020. Expenses that can be used for the program include holding livestock and other livestock-related products during an extended time period. Applicants can receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • The meat and poultry capacity program can cover costs for operations associated with facility improvements that are necessary to decrease or eliminate COVID-19 related slowdowns. Businesses must have no more than 60 employees. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $25,000 for eligible expenses.

IDOA announced that an additional 10% will be awarded to businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). Those areas are defined by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s administration and the Illinois General Assembly. A full list of DIA zip codes can be found here.