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This group formed in 2006 with the goal of promoting rural development by helping small Iowa meat processors expand, upgrade or build new facilities. Small meat processing plants are necessary for the vitality of Iowa's agriculture and rural lifestyle, but they have suffered a sharp decline.The group joined Value Chain Partnerships in 2007 and completed its formal activities in 2010.
The group's initial project was the production of the Iowa Meat Processors Resource Guidebook, a step-by-step guide to building, upgrading or expanding a small meat processing plant in Iowa. The group went on to hold cost accounting workshops for small processors over two years, and to produce additional resources. After the group's formal completion, additional activities continued through the Iowa Meat Processors Association and the Niche Meat Processor Assistant Network, Cooperative Extension's national network supporting small meat processors.
The goal of the Small Meat Processors Working Group:
The work of this group has continued under other grants, including this project by Nick McCann in 2012 and 2013, Improving Profitability for Small and Very Small Meat Processors in Iowa.