Northwest Meat Processors Association

Pandemic Relief Grants Available for Small Meat Processors

Application period is open now through November 16, 2020.

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is offering Meat Processor Infrastructure and Capacity Relief Grants to small scale meat processors to cover costs of improving infrastructure and operating capacity in response to the coronavirus pandemic. WSDA is accepting grant applications for expenses up to $150,000. The money can be used to cover the cost of equipment, physical improvements, additional labor, worker and customer safety, and other expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

Meat processors with fewer than 250 employees may apply. Applicants must be USDA-inspected facilities, including mobile units, or custom operations licensed by WSDA. Funds are intended to reimburse eligible expenditures so grant recipients will need to provide receipts or other documentation of expenses.

For more information and how to apply, visit our website:

Small meat processors have worked hard to meet consumer demand for locally produced meat, and in many cases they have extended themselves financially to do this. The grant is meant to help small operations recoup some of their costs so they can keep the food supply chain moving while making sure local livestock producers can access needed processing. More than $4.6 million is available for these grants. Funds for these grants are provided through the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Attn: 2020 Convention Canceled

Dear Fellow Member,

After careful consultation with our member companies, AAMP and our board of directors regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our staff, our processors, our exhibitors and sponsors – we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Northwest Meat Processors Association convention, scheduled for March 26th, 27th & 28th, 2020 in Hermiston, Oregon. Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our attendees and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

Thank you,

Jerry Haun

Northwest Meat Processors Association

Executive Secretary

Apprenticeship Announcement

The NWMPA is pleased to announce that we have our Meat Cutters Apprenticeship Program ready to roll out! We are now taking applications for shops to join and become a part of this industry changing program to raise the level of workmanship, wages and working conditions for everyone in the meat industry in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Some of the key benefits for employers are:

  • Employees with university level education on all aspects of meat cutting and processing

  • Well trained meat cutters who are able to perform all aspects without supervision

  • A pay structure that will encourage people into your shop and will help retain workers

Documents for processors interested in the apprenticeship program are below (all documents in Microsoft Word format):

For more information on how you can get involved, please reach out to our training director, Troy Wilcox. He can be reached by phone at (360) 324-6000 or by email at

Welcome to the Northwest Meat Processors Association

The Northwest Meat Processors Association shall work for the betterment of the meat industry in the Northwest. This will be accomplished by providing strong, qualified leadership that represents the interests of the meat industry in the legislative halls. In addition, we keep our members informed of developments and matters of development and matters of interest in the meat industry.

News Updates

Senate Bill on State Inspection Up for Discussion in Washington State

Senate Bill SB638209202020.pdf

A New Home for Meat Science at University of Idaho

Washington State Food Safety Change of Inspection

There has been a change since the seminar at the convention that WSDA and WA State Dept. of Health presented to the attendees.

The NWMPA office received a call on May 28th from a representative from the Washington State Food Safety Division in Olympia. There was a proposal to turn over the game processing and further processing of game to the local county health departments. At the convention the seminar speakers received feedback from the attendees on this proposal. After more study of these changes Washington State has chosen NOT TO turn over this to the local health departments. Washington State processors will receive renewal for the food processor license

per the call on May 28th. The representative from WSFSD did mention that our feedback had a significant impact on the ruling.

NWMPA Apprenticeship Program

The program is moving forward. Eleven processors sent letters of intent; this allows the program to be registered in Washington State and is also recognized by Oregon and Idaho. Troy Wilcox has been our coordinator for this important opportunity for our members. For details and information contact Troy Wilcox,, cell 360-324-6000 or 360-352-1531 or Jerry Haun,, 509-525-6605.

UI announces plan for $8 million meat science center

The University of Idaho on April 22 announced plans to build a new meat science facility on its main campus in Moscow. Agri Beef Co. CEO Robert Rebholtz Jr., in

a Boise announcement event, said the integrated producer, processor and seller will contribute $2 million. With a total construction cost of approximately $8 million, the 15,000-square-foot building is slated to be built on Perimeter Drive near the Kibbie Activity Center. Called the Agri Beef Meat Science and Innovation Center Honoring Ron Richard, the facility will include teaching and research functions as well as Vandal Brand Meats. It will meet growing demand and replace outdated facilities.

Rebholtz said Boise-based Agri Beef strongly supports UI’s goal to create a nationally recognized meat science facility, and looks forward to working with the university and stakeholders. “That is a major undertaking, and a vision we share,” he said. Livestock is a substantial economic contributor in Idaho and the Northwest, Rebholtz said, and UI’s efforts to expand and raise the profile of its meat-science research and education offerings stand to benefit the industry broadly.

UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Michael Parrella said Agri Beef’s commitment provides a key foundation for the project. About $3.2 million in support from the industry has been secured for the project so far. It will take about two years to finish raising money and to break ground on the building, which is expected to open in 2022, he said. Demand for the college’s meat science research and educational offerings is strong among students and the industry, Parrella said. More than 90% of UI meat science graduates find jobs in the field.

Phil Bass, assistant professor of meat science, said the new facility will allow for more practical research in a commercial setting while providing additional education space for industry, consumers and the public. Other regional companies and individuals in the industry have shown interest in supporting the project, Parrella said in a news release. Northwest Farm Credit Services committed $200,000. CALS internal funding will also be used.