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Oregon sens tout $250k grant to boost competition in $316 billion meat industry

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(The Center Square) – “The Meating Place” will get $250,000 in taxpayer funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Meat capacity grant program to help boost competition in the $316 billion meat processing industry involving more than 5,000 companies.

The retail shop and meat processing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, is the first operational Oregon Department of Agriculture slaughter and processing plant in Oregon.

“Oregon’s family ranchers and farmers should not be at the will of giant conglomerates when they go to process their products,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said in a statement. “I had the opportunity to see firsthand how the sausage was made at The Meating Place’s high-quality processing operation in Hillsboro last summer, and it’s great to see they are receiving this federal investment to beef up the availability of local meat processing. It’s only by strengthening our smaller, local meat processors that we can ensure greater competition, help keep food local, and make it a little bit easier for family ranchers to thrive in a challenging market.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’ve been gathering with growers and makers in Oregon’s Bounty Counties to hear how I can help them dish out more of their Oregon products,” Wyden said in the release. “The Meating Place is the epitome of what Oregonians do best: We grow things; we add value, and we sell it. I’ve been working with ranchers for 15 years to stand up Oregon state meat inspection so small farms and culinary businesses can get their products out locally and for less money.”

The Meating Place has a weekly customer base of 3,000. The business plans to use the taxpayer money to expand its inspected processing capacity; it wants to increase services by 14%, to 290 ranches.

Plus, the business wants to enhance processing volume by 70%, hire 10 new employees, and purchase new equipment.

“This expansion will improve access to locally-raised meat for various markets across Oregon and increase access for small, medium-sized, and underserved ranches to inspected meat processing,” a release said.

Casey Miller, the owner of The Meating Place, expressed gratitude for the taxpayer funds.

“The Meating Place is thrilled to be the recipient of the 2023 USDA Local MCap grant,” Miller said in the release. “With these funds, The Meating Place will be able to meet the needs of local ranchers with additional processing and packaging.”

In the United States, 5,568 meat, beef, and poultry processing businesses exist, according to IBISWorld. The industry is worth $316 billion, IBISWorld also reported.

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