Fremont County-based Waubonsie Ridge Beef Awarded USDA Grant
Fremont County-based Waubonsie Ridge Beef has been awarded a $210,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand operations at its cattle operation near Tabor.
Theresa Greenfield, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, announced last week that the department is investing $1.1 million in two Iowa projects to bolster meat production and help diversify the nation’s meat supply.
Greenfield said the grant will allow Waubonsie Ridge Beef LLC to expand production, processing and marketing of retail beef cuts. The expansion will create more value-added meat products for sale to the public and will promote economic development in Fremont County. The funding is through the Value Added Producer Grant program.
Waubonsie Ridge Beef is co-owned by Justin and Jamie Ewalt - fourth generation cattle feeders. As noted on its website, Waubonsie Ridge Beef purchases calves from local cow/calf producers typically weighing in between 400-600 pounds and from there hand feed the animals until they weigh around 1,250 pounds. The Ewalts have a retail store on Main Street in Tabor that opened in 2020 and a store on Town Square in Glenwood that opened in 2022.
In addition to Waubonsie Ridge Beef, Jordan’s Meat Market LLC in Cherokee County is receiving an $800,000 loan to construct a meat locker in Marcus. The funding will cover construction of the facility and working capital. The funding is through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA is committed to increasing meat production, processing and retail supply in Iowa,” Greenfield said. “Today’s announcement of $1.1 million in loans and grants will help build a more resilient food supply chain for producers and consumers.”
Last week, U.S. Secretary Of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a total of 25 projects in 15 states, including the two in Iowa, to increase independent meat processing capacity, support meat producers and support efforts to strengthen local and regional food supply chains.