COLUMBIA, SC. — The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) announced an investment of $3 million in the state’s meat processing capacity.

With around 720 meat processors in South Carolina, the state hopes to help the local facilities employ more workers and increase their production capacity. Funding will be used to expand capacity through infrastructure and equipment improvements as well as for training workers.

“I’m thrilled to announce a program that has the power to transform our state’s agribusiness industry at the local level,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “Even small investments in meat processing can have a huge impact for farmers and consumers.”

Currently, several South Carolina meat producers send their animals out of state for processing due to a lack of in-state capacity, SCDA said.

Through the Increased Processing Capacity and Efficiency (IPCE) initiative, eligible processors can apply for funds at a 2:1 match. Processors have until Jan.  13, 2023, to apply.