May 02, 2019

Meat processors add jobs, expand services and thrive with MASBDA


If you spend time in any rural community, you will see that many meat processors are struggling to keep doors open because of job retention and recruitment. Some rural area processors have closed their doors entirely, leaving local farmers and ranchers searching for new meat processing plants.

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is well known for being the financial assistance provider under the Missouri Department of Agriculture. MASBDA has several programs that help farmers and ranchers, including a program specifically for meat processors.

MASBDA’s Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit Program assists Missouri meat processors that construct, improve or acquire buildings, facilities or equipment used exclusively for meat processing. The main focus of the program is to increase production, efficiency and create jobs when possible.

This program has helped create additional jobs in the meat processing workforce and retain them. Western’s Smokehouse Production, LLC, located in Greentop, has participated in the program for two consecutive years. Kevin and Heather Western think their success is clear.

“As a small business, we have looked into numerous types of assistance and have never found one that really truly helped us until this,” Kevin said.

The Westerns said they have tried almost every avenue in meat processing: a restaurant, custom processing, retail, catering and private labeling. However, they found their niche with snack sticks. They have been able to increase production from 6,000 pounds a day to 42,000 pounds a day, which led to an increase in employees. When the expansions started in 2017, they employed around 33 individuals. Following the expansions, there has been a creation of approximately 77 additional jobs.

 “We never quite qualified for anything, and yet we were employing 100 plus people in a town of 400 people in one of the smallest and poorest counties in the state,” Kevin said. “This program has been a blessing and it is not hard to fill out. The barriers we face to achieve the credit is not so great that we feel like we cannot do it as a small business.”

All meat processing facilities that have performed modernizations or expansion at their facility since Jan. 1, 2018, are eligible to apply for this tax credit. The tax credit amount can be up to 25% of the total modernization or expansion costs, with a maximum of $75,000 per year. The tax credit can be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold or assigned. Modernizations or expansions may be considered through Dec. 31, 2021.

For more information on the Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit Program or MASBDA, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov or call (573) 751-2129.

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Written by: Maddie Berwanger, loan officer for the Missouri Agricultural & Small Business Development Authority