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Grant program available for Illinois agriculture businesses

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SPRINGFIELD (WSIL) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) has announced $5 million in business recovery funding for livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new funding is part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, which uses federal CARES Act money to help small businesses that incurred losses in connection to COVID-19.

“Illinois remains a leading agricultural state in the nation, and I’m proud to help farmers build on that success by providing needed grants to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “On behalf of all Illinoisans, I want to offer my appreciation to the members of our agricultural community whose hard work has ensured food was available amidst the worst pandemic of our lifetimes.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Department has worked closely with the agriculture industry to understand and respond to the challenges they currently face,” said Acting Director of IDOA, Jerry Costello II. “I’m proud of the way Illinois’ farmers, small businesses and commodity groups came together to keep the food chain secure. These dollars enable farmers’ continuity of operations while providing our small meat and poultry plants the ability to make necessary improvements to expand animal throughput and capacity.”

Financial assistance will be made available through three programs administered by IDOA:

  • Swine Depopulation Program: Covers the costs and expenses of swine producers associated with the depopulation and disposal of livestock due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency on or after April 15, 2020. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Agriculture Business Interruption Program: Covers monetary losses and expenses of livestock producers due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency during the period of April 15-May 15, 2020. Eligible expenses are costs associated with holding livestock (swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, lambs, poultry and meat goats) and livestock-related products for an extended period of time. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Meat and Poultry Capacity Program: Covers costs for operations and costs associated with facility improvements necessary to decrease or eliminate COVID-19 related slowdowns and mitigate capacity reductions. Businesses must have no more than 60 employees. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $25,000 for eligible expenses.

Online applications are available through October 31, 2020.

IDOA says an additional 10% will be awarded to businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). A full list of DIAs can be found here.

Questions can be submitted to AGR.Grants@illinois.gov.

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