WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program (MPIRG) granted $400,000 to Minnesota meat producers, announced US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.).

“I’m thrilled to see this grant program, created through my bipartisan RAMP-UP Act, is delivering for local meat processors across Minnesota,” Klobuchar said. “These critical investments will help strengthen our food supply chain and expand opportunities for small meat processors, ensuring they can continue to thrive.”

Minnesota is one of 37 states to receive MPIRG funding. USDA said a total of $21.9 million will be distributed to US meat producers through 111 grants this year.

USDA intends these improvements and expansions, funded through MPIRG, to help processors obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or qualify for a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program so they can ship products across state lines, acquire new markets and increase capacity.

Waseca Morgan's Meat Market LLC, based in Waseca, Minn., and Neighbor’s Meats LLC, based in Richland, Minn., will each receive $200,000.

Family-owned beef and pork processing company Waseca Morgan’s Meat Market plans to modernize its facility to increase its production and ensure proper, safe functioning of the smokehouse that comply with Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) protocols. With an annualized growth rate of 25%, the company lacks the USDA status needed to expand any further, which it hopes to meet through its grant money.

Neighbor’s Meats plans to use USDA funding to pursue the Federal Food Safety Inspection Upgrade, which will enable it to become a federally inspected slaughtering and processed meats retail facility. The company said this certification would support local trade and decrease the carbon footprint caused by shipping products many miles away.