There's a lot of smaller meat processors in northeast Iowa: The Elma Locker, Polashek's Locker, Oran Locker, etc. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain for meat processing has been dealing with mass illness, distancing requirements and mandatory time off when an illness is reported. As a result, smaller operations have been picking up the slack.

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As per a report from Mike Moen of the Public News Service, a proposal in the Iowa Legislature would create a new grant program designed to aid in the surge in demand. Supporters of House File 857 have said that when COVID-19 outbreaks forced larger meat-packing plants to hit the pause button on operations, producers looked elsewhere. This coming at the same time consumer preferences have shifted to buying local meat.

Polashek's Locker in Protivin. (Google)

The general feeling among supporters in the bill would provide financial assistance to boost capacity during a time when many of the smaller area meat-packers are booked into 2022 or even 2023. The unpredictable nature of the business also makes it hard for many smaller processors to secure bank loans. House File 857 cleared the Iowa House this week with no opposing votes, but it's unclear if it will advance in the Senate.

Read the entire House File 857 'Butchery Innovation And Revitalization Fund and Program' here.

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