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Federal grant to benefit meat processing program at Ridgewater College in Willmar

Meat-cutting programs at Ridgewater College in Willmar and Central Lakes Community College in Staples are receiving a boost in the form of a $2.9 million grant to the Farmers Union Federation of St. Paul. The grant will assist in purchasing mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for both programs.

A man in a white butcher's uniform slicing a cut of meat with a large knife.
An unidentified butcher cuts meat at a counter. A grant will assist Ridgewater College in Willmar and Central Lakes College in Staples in purchasing mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for their new meat processing certification programs.
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WILLMAR — Local gaps in the meat processing industry have been recognized for years, and those gaps became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a key reason Ridgewater College in Willmar decided to add a new program in meat-cutting in fall 2022 .

That program is receiving a boost in the form of a $2.9 million grant to the Farmers Union Federation of St. Paul, which will assist both Ridgewater College in Willmar and Central Lakes Community College in Staples in purchasing mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for their new meat processing certification programs, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Meat processing in Minnesota:
Minnesota used to have a number of training programs for meat processors, but there are none left. Ridgewater College in Willmar and Central Lakes College at Staples are planning to bring back college credit training for people interested in the profession.

The grant from the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and was announced April 28.

The investment will be matched with $740,000 in local funds and is expected to create 150 jobs, retain 200 jobs and generate $20 million in private investment. Details of the required local funding match are still being worked out, according to Jeff Miller, Ridgewater College dean of instruction.

Related Topics: WILLMARMINNESOTARIDGEWATER COLLEGECENTRAL LAKES COLLEGESTAPLES
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