Ohio Meat and Poultry Producers Receive Ohio Meat Processing Grants
Meat and poultry processors in Ohio are getting a financial boost from the state.
Businesses in Stark, Wayne, Ashland, Holmes and Tuscarawas counties are among those receiving government grants in hopes of stimulating industry to meet consumer demand.
Recipients of the Governor’s Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program include two Stark County operations, Polen Meats in Canton Township and Kiko Meats in Paris Township.
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Pleasant Valley Poultry in the Baltic region of Tuscarawas County is another beneficiary. Each livestock or poultry processor can receive up to $250,000 under the program. In total, there will be 40 grant recipients statewide.
“This is an equipment grant,” said Brad Polen, operator of Polen Meats at 612 Trump Ave. BORN. “We will be able to do it more efficiently. We will upgrade (the equipment.) I would like to hire more employees. I could hire two or three butchers, butchers. The animals are there. It’s about making them come. slaughtered. The supply is here.
Meat Processing Grant to Help Polen, Kiko Meats in Stark County
Polen Meats processes pigs, cattle, goats, lambs and buffaloes. The grant for Polen Meats is $230,174.
“When we applied, we had to give them quotes on all the equipment we wanted to buy,” Polen said. “I know what equipment I need to make it more efficient.”
And the operators of Kiko Meats at 1548 Union Ave. SE in the Minerva region have similar plans.
“With this grant, it will help us release more products,” said Steve Kiko, director of Kiko Meats. “A new freezer and a new barn would definitely help a lot. It will allow us to cut more produce and get meat into the freezer faster.”
The state awards $248,392 to Kiko Meats.
The grants will arrive in two installments. A second installment occurs when and if the recipient demonstrates that the initial funding has been spent on eligible projects and purchases.
For Kiko, the prospect of being added to the job roster is uncertain.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Kiko said. “We have a good team here. Right now we’re booked through 2023 for someone who wants to have beef slaughtered. That’s for custom slaughter.”
The impact of COVID on meat processing in Ohio
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the meat processing industry, according to the Ohio Farm Service Agency. Some factories have lost workers because they got sick or tried to avoid catching the virus.
“When they’re not there, it means the product isn’t moving as quickly,” said Christina Cooley, public relations manager for the Ohio Farm Service Agency. “They’re trying to restart small processing facilities to help at the county level. When the pandemic basically started, one of the things that was noticed was that there were certain products that were hard to find. “
Funds for the Ohio Meat Processing Grant Program come from the 2022-2023 biennial state budget approved last year.
In Tuscarawas County, Aden Troyer, operator of Pleasant Valley Poultry at 201 S. Mill St., Baltic, plans to purchase a thermoforming machine used in packaging.
“We do client work for small farmers,” Troyer said. “Back when the pandemic hit, some of these bigger stores like Walmart, their shelves were empty. They (consumers) came to me and my customers. I would say in 2021 we probably turned down as much of people that we have accepted. If this equipment arrives, we can probably double our production.”
Pleasant Valley Poultry is expected to receive $250,000. Pleasant Valley Poultry processes chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.
Meat company in Wayne and Ashland counties.
Three Wayne County businesses will receive state grants under the program: 3D Meats, Marshallville Meats and Whitefeather Meats. Each receives $250,000.
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Two farms in Ashland County receive state grants. They are Tea Hills Poultry Company, which receives $245,810, and Turk Brothers Custom Meats, which is expected to receive $250,000.
Cara Tipton, who operates Tea Hills Poultry in the Loudonville area, plans to purchase new equipment that she says will increase worker safety and improve efficiency.
“Being in a low-margin industry and having lasted a few years with the pandemic, this grant program was definitely needed,” Tipton said.
Efforts to contact the three Wayne County operations and Turk Brothers Custom Meats were unsuccessful.
Contact Malcolm at 330-580-8305 or [email protected]
Bryce Buyakie of Wooster Daily Record contributed to this article