(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Applications are being accepted for grants that are aimed at increasing locally produced meat and poultry.

“Very Small Meat and Poultry Processor Reimbursement Grants” are made available through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill. About $500,000 is up for grabs, and grants of up to $100,000 are available for eligible applicants, a Pennsylvania Agriculture announcement said.

The grants are intended to help small businesses start up or expand to meet USDA food safety requirements.

“Consumers want to buy local. These grants help our small producers meet that demand for high-quality, nutritious food that meets stringent food safety requirements,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “In turn, this investment helps keep our food supply chain short, keeping costs down, growing producers’ bottom lines, and keeping more dollars right here in our communities.”

The grants will reimburse processors for consulting or technical services to draft and implement a federal plan to ensure a facility can become USDA-certified and produce meat or poultry safely, the announcement explained. Grants also can cover processing equipment, supplies, training, and safety equipment.

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Applications must be submitted online through a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development application. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 26.

For more information, go online to the Pennsylvania Agriculture website.