PIERRE, S.D. – The recent effort in South Dakota is to strengthen its food supply chain, with a multi-million-dollar project aimed at supporting its producers was discussed at a recent Planning and Development District III meeting at the Davison County Fairgrounds. The plans are linked to two major federal programs.
The Biden Administration is implementing the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program to address food supply chain vulnerabilities during the pandemic. This program offers a $4. 5 million loan pool for local meatpackers in the southeastern region of South Dakota, aiming to kickstart operations or upgrade existing ones.
Lori Cowman, a consultant at District III, emphasizes the significance of low-interest loans with a 3% rate for meatpackers. With a minimum award of $10,000, beneficiaries can repay the loans over 5-20 years. These loans benefit local producers by reducing transportation costs and offering better pricing due to proximity to packing operations.
The centralized control of the meatpacking industry provides producers with more bargaining power and a fair share of profits.
The second project, the MinKota Regional Food Center serves as a bridge between producers, distributors, and sellers, aiming to streamline the food supply process and promote cooperation among chain players. It aims to help producers combine resources, maximizing profit margins, and promote cooperation among all players.
Brian McGinnis, a specialist at District III, believes that the aggregation of products by producers can significantly boost profit margins. This process bridges the gap between producers and large-scale buyers, such as schools or grocery stores, ensuring a consistent food supply.