Illinois Invests $6 Million in Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program

New grant program supports independently owned meat and poultry companies in support of job retention & creation, increased production, and a strengthened supply chain; Grants cover up to 20 percent of capital costs to build or expand plants.
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a new $6 million capital grant program designed to strengthen the meat and poultry supply chain by helping independently owned meat processing companies in Illinois build capacity and create and retain jobs. Through the Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program, companies are eligible for grants of $250,000 to $1.5 million, with a company match of at least four times the amount awarded.

“The Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program is part of Illinois' holistic effort to lower the costs of consumer goods for Illinois families,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By building capacity in Illinois' meat processing industry, we are strengthening the supply chain, creating and retaining jobs and working to lower costs for families.”

In the wake of the pandemic, meat prices have increased considerably, in part due to limited capacity and lack of competition. The Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program aims to support communities by helping independently owned companies build capacity, create jobs and ultimately, strengthen our meat processing supply chain in Illinois, thereby making food products more affordable and accessible. In order to achieve these goals, eligibility is restricted to plants that are not operated by the four largest meat processing companies that own most of the nation's meat processing market share.

“Leveling the playing field for independently-owned meat processing companies will ultimately improve the bottom line for Illinois families,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Under Governor Pritzker's leadership, Illinois continues to prioritize creating a more equitable business environment that strengthens our supply chain and economic growth.”

“One of the lessons learned from the pandemic was how important our meat supply chain is in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II. “We appreciate the Governor's significant investment and the ability to collaborate with DCEO to make this a reality.”

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index for meats increased by 23 percent from March 2020 to August 2022, led by a 22.9 percent increase for beef and veal and a 24.6 percent increase for pork. With meat accounting for half of all food price increases for families in 2021 the Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program will provide critical support for companies as they work to build capacity. Grants will be issued on a rolling basis; interested parties can find more information on the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) here.

“This new grant program is another way Illinois is investing in our businesses and communities,” said State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “By strengthening our food supply chain, we are creating new jobs and boosting our state's economy.”

“Our agricultural industry is vital to our success as a state, and it supports our food system across the world. These grants will help small businesses emerge from the pandemic and create and retain jobs in communities across the state, while shoring up the meat and poultry supplies, we all rely on to feed our families,” said State Representative Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa).

“This grant shows the state's continuous commitment in investing into our communities and businesses to help them grow,” said State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex). “The food supply chain has experienced high demand in recent years, which has caused issues for both consumers and producers. This program will help alleviate shortages and create new jobs across our communities.”

“With this program, we are offering opportunities to another critical industry to locate in Illinois and hire more Illinois workers,” said State Representative Michael Halpin (D-Rock Island).

Through the program, companies can receive funding for the construction of a new facility, expanding or renovating existing facilities, and modernizing processing and manufacturing equipment. As part of DCEO's commitment to equity, the application process prioritizes applicants located in underserved and rural areas.

For more information about DCEO programs and funding opportunities, please visit the DCEO website.