Grants for Agriculture Businesses hit hard by COVID-19

Applications for funding now available to livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants as a part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Program.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) today announced the availability of $5 million in business recovery funding for livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants suffering interruptions as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past six months meat and poultry plants across the country have been impacted by the pandemic, as reduced sales resulted in a slowdown of processing livestock and forced many Illinois farmers to incur additional costs.

The new funding opportunity is part of the state’s Business Interruption Grants program (BIG), which leverages federal CARES Act money to help small businesses statewide offset losses incurred in connection to COVID-19. Online applications are available now through October 31, 2020 at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Animals/Pages/Livestock-Management-Facility-Grants.aspx.

Financial assistance will be made available through three programs administered by IDOA: 

  • Swine Depopulation Program: Covers the costs and expenses of swine producers associated with the depopulation and disposal of livestock due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency on or after April 15, 2020. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Agriculture Business Interruption Program: Covers monetary losses and expenses of livestock producers due to the disruption of the livestock market caused by the COVID-19 emergency during the period of April 15-May 15, 2020. Eligible expenses are costs associated with holding livestock (swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, lambs, poultry and meat goats) and livestock-related products for an extended period of time. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for losses.
  • Meat and Poultry Capacity Program: Covers costs for operations and costs associated with facility improvements necessary to decrease or eliminate COVID-19 related slowdowns and mitigate capacity reductions. Businesses must have no more than 60 employees. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $25,000 for eligible expenses.

IDOA has worked with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to mobilize this opportunity for financial assistance provided through the BIG program. The administration has developed guidelines that ensure an equitable deployment of grant funding across hard hit communities and heavily impacted industries. To date, more than $49 million in BIG funding has been distributed to over 2,800 small businesses, in over 400 communities statewide, and ongoing funding opportunities remain available for small businesses of all types statewide. To learn more about current BIG funding opportunities, please visit DCEO’s website.  

An additional 10% will be awarded to businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), defined in legislation and created by the Pritzker administration and the Illinois General Assembly to ensure equitable funding opportunities. A full list of DIA’s can be found here

For more information on BIG, please visit agr.state.il.us. Questions can be submitted to AGR.Grants@illinois.gov.