Zimmerman Meats has been selected to be awarded the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) grant. Zimmerman Meats has three locations: Summersville, MO where they do processing and production, as well as two retail locations located in Salem, MO and Marshfield, MO.
“This is a relatively new program,” explained Isaac Keene, general manager of Zimmerman’s. “…applications were accepted in April and May. The selection process took until October.”
There were approximately 375 applicants that applied for about 2.5 billion dollars worth of grant money. Only 21 applications were accepted.
“We were the only one (applicant) selected in the state of Missouri,” shared Keene. “We are pleased…it was a little bit of a surprise after several months of silence to get that good news.”
“The program is set up as a 20% reimbursement framework. We will spend $5 and they will reimburse us for one of those dollars…Up to a total award of $730,000. We will have to spend $2.9 million out of pocket.” explained Keene.
The grant funds will help the company expand their plant in Summersville, MO, adding workforce, adding equipment, distribution and expanding our capacity. “It could include developing new recipes or products,” shared Keene.
“We have a plan to expand our further processing capacity,” explained Keene. “Further processing capacity means product that is cured, smoked, cooked-examples of that are bacon, pulled pork, beef jerky, snack strips or snack sticks.”
The grant funding will help cover the costs of the equipment needed to expand the processing capacity and is a four year grant. “We will need to expand the foot print of our building so that we have a place to house the equipment and additional workforce. That is where we will be spending out of pocket in order to make good use of the grant funds,” added Keene.
The current company was established about 15 years ago in Summersville. “It was sold to the current ownership group, a pair of brothers, in about 2015,” explained Keene. “After a few years we opened a store in Salem-that was our first retail store and then more recently, a year and a half ago, we opened the store in Marshfield.”
All of the processing for Zimmerman’s takes place at the Summersville, MO location. “We were pleased that Zimmerman’s meats priorities were consistent with broader market trends…in receiving (the grant) we felt a lot of affirmation that Zimmerman Meats is on the right track consistent with what’s happening with the meat market and meat processing industry,” reflected Keene. “…we see a customer shift toward products that are convenient, that are ready to take home and make, that are packaged individually and those type products are the ones that we want to be able to serve better than what we can right now.”
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