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First round of RAMP-UP Act funds will help small to midsized lockers expand.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

December 2, 2021

2 Min Read
Butcher cutting meat
LOCAL MEAT: USDA announced eight Kansas small and midsized meat processing facilities will receive MPIRG grants through the RAMP-UP Act. The grants will help them update and expand their facilities and qualify for federal inspection, so that they can sell meat across state lines.FG Trade/Getty Images

In November, USDA announced the recipients of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. Eight Kansas plants received grants, which will be used to improve meat and poultry processing facilities’ capacity and efficiency.

The MPIRG program is part of the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants Act (RAMP-UP), written by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. The RAMP-UP Act will provide $55.2 million in grants for small and midsized meatpacking plants so that they can become federally inspected, and thus be able to sell their products across state lines.

“Small meat packers in Kansas play an important role in providing new markets for livestock producers and meeting a growing, nationwide demand for quality meat,” Moran said in a release.

Kansas plants that received grants include:

1. Burkhart Meat Processing LLC, Kinsley. A $200,000 grant will be put toward the processor’s $715,000 slaughter and processing facility expansion project. Burkhart plans to more than double its current capacity and obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection.

2. Alta Vista Meat Co., Alta Vista. A $200,000 grant will be used to update electrical systems and water lines, modernizing the 1960s-era construction. It will also be used to modify the chute and holding pen area, allowing a second team to work, doubling the facility’s output.

3. Price Ventures LLC, LaCygne. A $200,000 grant will create a “plant-in-a-box” concept to meet demand from small-batch poultry producers in the Kansas City area who otherwise struggle to access inspected processing facilities.

4. Freedom Meats LLC, Caney. A $200,000 grant will be used to expand the current processing facility to accommodate increased demand for retail meat. Expansion plans include hiring an additional seven to 10 employees, to process 25 to 30 livestock per week.

5. Circle P Processing, Waterville. A $200,000 grant will modernize equipment and increase capacity and obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection, so that clients can sell meat products throughout the U.S.

6. Schenker Family Farms Inc., McCune. A $194,970.69 grant will be used to improve the facility and create a hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) food safety plan, so it can be USDA-inspected. This will allow the company to expand from its consumer-direct specialty food channels to larger distribution.

7. BD Meats Inc., Wichita. A $200,000 grant will be used to achieve federal inspection, and repair and expand freezer space for its Amish customers. The company will also expand smokehouse capacity to produce more locally sourced product from area farmers and ranchers.

8. Dieck’s Inc., Clay Center. A $200,000 grant will be used to increase locally sourced meat production and obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection, so that customers can sell their meats outside of Kansas.

To read more about the program, visit ams.usda.gov/services/grants/mpirg.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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