MIAMI, Ok. — Meat processors have been struggling during the pandemic, but one local facility is getting help to expand its operations.
Cook’s Processing in Miami applied for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture’s Meat Processing Development and Expansion Grant. They met the criteria and were one of 50 applicants to get it.
Charlotte Howe, Miami Chamber of Commerce President, said, “With his expansion he’s gonna be able to add some more jobs and the other thing he’s gonna meet his customers needs which is gonna continue to help us grow and helps the Miami region as well.”
Cook’s Processing has been in the Miami region for more than 30 years. The facility has been hit hard since the pandemic started, so this grant from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture relieves some of the stress.
“Melvin Cook brought in the application and we decided I would be the paper work and I would tell him the information and we put our two heads together, turned in the application and they received the $200,000 grant.”
Cook’s Processing used the funds to construct a new building.
Melvin Cook, Owner of Cook’s Processing, said, “It’s 40 by 68. It’s got a new freezer a new prep room for sticks and jerky, new smoker and we’re moving the old smoker over there too. We have a cooler to cook meat, cooler for all meat, and the old line where that used to be we’re gonna put another processing line in it so it’ll actually have 3 processing lines.
This grant will also allow the company to add more jobs.
“And it’s hard. Like we’re are state inspected plant which we can’t work over time. Which if you work overtime and over-time inspector and that would double the cost of the processing so that really shoots the price up. We’re locked in 8 to 5 that’s why we keep adding employees to produce more and more.”
The community is grateful knowing they are getting the help they need.
“Melvin is a integral part of keeping that supply chain going. It’s processing facilities like his that have been able to stay open and and pick up the slack from some of the bigger ones that have had to shut down,” said Howe.
Cook’s processing still has about $13,000 left to use from the grant and they have until the end of the month to spend it. They hope to finish the building in the next 30 to 60 days. And if you have a business and need assistance or would like to apply for the grant, you can contact the Miami Chamber of Commerce and they can further assist you.