On Wednesday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law House File 857, which will provide assistance to new and existing small meat processors across the state. Center for Rural Affairs staff were in attendance, and applauded the bill’s commitment to Iowa’s small processors.
“Main street lockers play an essential role for livestock producers, consumers, and local economies,” said Johnathan Hladik, Center policy director. “Over the past year, many have faced increased demand. This legislation is both encouraging and well-timed.”
The bill signing was hosted by Roehrkasse Meat Co. in Williamsburg, Iowa, which has been an institution of the community since 1937.
Introduced by State Rep. Chad Ingels, HF 857 will establish a Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program to provide financial assistance to expand, refurbish, or establish new facilities. It will also establish an Artisanal Butchery Program Task Force to explore the feasibility of an artisanal butchery program at a community college or university. The bill targets lockers with less than 50 employees, which was part of an amendment drafted by Center staff in partnership with Rep. Ingels.
Also in attendance at the signing were Angie and Darrell Goering, owners of Milo Locker Meats in Milo, Iowa. During the legislative session, the Goerings worked with the Center to advocate in support of the bill. They said the programs will help lockers like theirs increase capacity.
After the onset of the pandemic, Milo Locker nearly doubled its processing due to demand, and is currently booking into 2022.
“Locker owners like Angie and Darrell are really what this legislation is all about,” Hladik said. “This gives them the tools they need to grow their business.”
Feature photos - Top: Kim Reynolds signs House File 857 during a ceremony hosted by Roehrkasse Meat Co. in Williamsburg, Iowa. Middle: Center Policy Associate Kate Hansen and Policy Director Johnathan Hladik with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Bottom: Angie and Darrell Goering with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.