U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House domestic policy advisor Susan Rice were in Chippewa County to award grant funds to Chippewa Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) investor Crescent Meats. Along with other CEDC investors CBS Squared and the Roc Group the team helped the company apply for the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP)-a Biden Administration program plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars across the country to increase competition, boost farmer and rancher income and lower grocery costs for families. Crescent Meats application was part of the first round of grants investing $73 million and was one of 21 projects across the country awarded funding.
Secretary Vilsack explained that there was $150 million set aside for grants like the one Lautsbaugh’s receiving. The Department of Agriculture took their time and analyzed all the applicants and choosing the best business to invest in. “We announced 21 grants,” Vilsack said. “Totaling about $73 million to independent businesses; family-owned businesses with small and midsized processing capacity.”
Crescent Meats owner Wayne Lautsbaugh noted that “It took the team several months to prepare and write the grant application. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the whole point of our expansion is to position us to better work with our producers. To do that we have to add 20,000 square feet and spend $7 million on the expansion project which should take about a tear to complete.”