Support for meat packers is important

The Indiana Meat Packers & Processors Association (IMPPA) recently sent me a letter in hopes of garnering support for their efforts to attain $90 million in CARES Act funding for expansion purposes.

The letter spelled out many issues meat packers face and highlighted the impact COVID-19 has had on the industry. Specifically, meat packers are completely booked for harvest appointments typically one year in advance, making it hard for farmers to get their cattle and hogs harvested.

The letter detailed ways they could benefit from funding including improving harvesting capabilities, adding on to current buildings, purchasing more modernized equipment, hiring more employees and training labor.

In order to find help for these improvements, IMPPA met with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch on Sept. 23, and proposed their plan of expansion. Currently, Indiana is sitting on $1.4 billion CARES Act dollars, making it reasonable to support IMPPA for their much-needed improvements.

Prior to the meeting, IMPPA sent a survey to member businesses which resulted in 24 operations responding they were in need of expansion or efficiency opportunities.

These businesses are significant to our state because they create jobs and provide fresh, local meat to Hoosiers. Because the need for expansion is evident, I sent a letter to IMPPA in support of their efforts to attain CARES Act dollars. Further, I have sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Crouch messaging the importance of the meat packing industry in Indiana. Supporting this industry is critical to our state, and shows a true commitment to agricultural services.

State Sen. Andy Zay represents the 17th District in the Indiana Senate.