Some independent Oklahoma beef processors not qualified for new COVID-19 relief funds amid supply shortages

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While President Biden announced last week he plans to allocate $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to local, independent beef processors, many Oklahoma processors who are already in business will not be qualified to receive any of that money.

“Our farm raises beef, pork, chicken and lamb,” Jake Miller with Outwest Farms told KFOR.

Outwest Farms is based in Cleveland, Okla. They deliver their product to customers all over the state.

“We sell by the pound. We deliver to the Tulsa, Oklahoma City areas, so pretty much from Norman to Bartlesville,” Miller said.

The past two years have been tough for their business throughout this pandemic.

Right now, the price of beef is up almost 20 percent from where it was this time last year.

“More people are looking to buy local with shortages in the grocery store,” Miller said.

Photo goes with story
Beef products.

So Outwest Farms, while battling critical supply chain shortages, has tried their best to keep their prices steady.

Last week, President Biden announced he’s allocating $1 billion in ARPA funds to local, independent beef processors.

“Small, independent farmers and ranchers are being driven out of business, sometimes businesses that have been around for generations,” Biden said.

However, unfortunately, Outwest Farms won’t qualify for any of the money.

“The plan will only go towards the creation of new USDA plants. It’s not going to help any current small plants or even small ranchers. It’s only going to help to create new USDA plants, which will create a problem because already plants can’t staff the ones that they do have,” Miller said. “I wish you would put the money in the current operating plants so they could buy new equipment or pay for other things that they need.”

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