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Minnesota Shared-Use Commercial Kitchen: Final Report

    The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), commissioned a research report to develop a better understanding of the shared commercial kitchen business model and its dynamics. The project team conducted a landscape analysis of the shared-use commercial kitchen industry throughout the state of Minnesota. The work consisted of interviews with key stakeholders, three regional focus groups, four case studies highlighting different operating models… Read More »Minnesota Shared-Use Commercial Kitchen: Final Report

    USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity- Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA) ensures that participants in USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives have access to a full-range of technical assistance (TA) to support their project development and success. These supply chain initiatives–including the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) Program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP)–support the growth of domestic processing capacity and the ability of independent facilities to serve more customers in more markets.

    USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is investing up to $25 million to establish a nationwide MPPTA network of support focusing on four key areas, or scopes:

    • Federal Grant Application Management: Navigating federal grants processes and procedures, from pre-award applications processes through post-award grant management compliance.
    • Business Development and Financial Planning: Business and financial planning resources, market intelligence, and project/concept feasibility analyses.
    • Meat and Poultry Processing Technical and Operation Support: Advice and resources to support the operational needs–including workforce development–of processing plant development and utilization.
    • Supply Chain Development: Support for the development and maintenance of successful supply chain and marketing relationships–between suppliers, processors, distributors, and customers.

    In March 2022, AMS identified the following organizations to serve as TA Providers.

    *The Flower Hill Institute also serves as the overall Technical Assistance Coordinator for the MPPTA Program, working closely with AMS and the TA Providers to connect meat and poultry processors, USDA grant applicants, and grant-funded project managers to the resources and expertise best suited to support a project’s needs.

    What does the MPPTA Offer?

    • Access to technical experts from across industry, academia and state and federal government.
    • Focused content for diverse stakeholders, including family-owned, rural, minority-owned, Native American and Tribal-owned businesses, as well as other underserved entities seeking to build or expand meat and poultry processing and supply chain capacity.
    • General assistance with navigating USDA grant application and award processes, and successful post-award grant management.
    • One-on-one advising, including project and proposal reviews tailored to the specific needs of diverse stakeholders, from small and very small processors and new enterprise startups to organizations developing regional concepts and established mid-sized processing companies.
    • Educational resources, events, and webinars covering topics of interest for meat and poultry processing enterprises of all types.

    Note: The MPPTA Program does not offer or provide contractor services or financial capital. It does not offer grant writing or project management services, nor does the voluntary use of MPPTA guarantee the success of a grant application or the grant-funded project.

    MPTTA Fact Sheet (pdf)

    Request Assistance

    USDA Meat and Poultry Supply Chain program participants are encouraged to reach out directly to Flower Hill Institute to discuss their technical assistance needs.

    The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Services (USDA-AMS) are collaborating to ensure a viable local and regional small-to-medium-scale protein processing industry, utilizing a variety of support mechanisms. With the announcement of several new federal and state programs supporting local and regional meat and poultry processing, it is imperative to identify the needs of industry and address as part of an effort to strengthen the ongoing competitiveness of these facilities and businesses.

    This collaborative project focuses on four key objectives with specific deliverables to support the United States’ food system. A regional advisory taskforce, comprised of representatives from the five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin), will guide the deliverables.

    Regional Advisory Taskforce

    • Convene partners for a regional collaboration to review and advise on cooperative agreement activities.
    • Leverage networks to ensure maximum reach for each of the pillars of work.
    • Work together to develop deliverables that address the needs of the regional protein processing sector.

    Finance Working Group

    • Generate a feasibility framework of key business and financial metrics and high-risk variables to serve as a guide to accelerate a local and regional protein processors’ ability to start or expand a livestock processing business.
    • Establish a road map outlining the fundamentals of proper due diligence on developing or expanding a protein processing facility/business.
    • Investigate the feasibility of creating a financial benchmarking tool of local and regional meat processing businesses for financial institutions to use, including identification of key variables and metrics, risk areas and ROI expectations.
    • Explore ongoing reporting structures to better understand how processors perform compared to peers on key variables to identify potential improvement areas for profitability.
    • Help identify essential expenditures and permits businesses need to consider before expanding or constructing new processing sites.

    Needs Assessment and Literature Review

    • Conduct focus groups and one-on-one interviews with industry representatives to prioritize gaps existing in the protein supply chain.
    • Conduct a literature review for documentation and exploration of challenges and opportunities related to enhancing resiliency in the livestock processing sector.

    Resource Map

    • Develop an online database of available physical and intellectual resources for the protein processing industry.
    • Identify existing resources that are available and/or underutilized in the Upper Midwest region for the livestock processing industry to reference.
    • Categorize resources based on resource type: education and training, legal and regulatory assistance, financial assistance, business development assistance, technical and product development assistance, policy/advocacy, engineering assistance, market assistance.

    Technical Assistance and Business Development Assistance

    • Support the supply chain through services and programs that best serve the sector.
    • Engage protein processors by creating three short courses.
    • Technical assistance will comprise of activities related to labeling, packaging, HACCP plans and product development.
    • Business development planning will comprise of services related to market access, infrastructure, policy/advocacy, input supply, mentoring, feasibility studies and business plans.

    Associated Deliverables:

    AURI’s dual-inspected laboratory facilities in Marshall, MN are available to clients for hands-on testing and development. Click on each facility below to get more information on each labs capabilities.

    In addition to laboratory capabilities the AURI meat science team offers additional resources to assist clients which include:

    • HACCP/ Food Safety and Inspection Type Coaching
    • Scale up
    • Product Formulation and Validation
    • Packaging
    • Troubleshooting

    Also, AURI’s facilities provide the following equipment items:

    • Cube steak tenderizer
    • 5 and 10 lb verticle stuffers
    • Warner-Bratzler Meat Shear
    • Vacuum Mixer
    • Grinder
    • Bandsaw
    • 50 lb pneumatic stuffer
    • 30lb bowl chopper
    • Brine pump