Ohio is taking steps to help strenghten the local meat supply chain.

Governor Mike DeWine awarded $15 million in grants to 75 meat processors around Ohio.
Seven of them are in the Mahoning Valley.

The grants are part of the state's efforts to reduce Ohio's reliance on out-of state and country companies who provide protein to feed families.
In Columbiana County, Winona Frozen Foods received $250,000.  They process just about anything you'd need.

"We do beef processing, the whole cows. We cut them down for customers like farmers. We also do pig processing. We do a lot of goats, lambs, we've done bear," said Nikki Cunningham, a worker at Winona.

They say buying local is fresher, safer and maybe even a better deal for families.

"At least choice or higher for a lower price. being we can get everything local, we keep the prices down," added Cunningham.

The meat processors contacted by 21 News say with this grant they'll be able to buy equipment they wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

"Purchasing packaging equipment to make everything flow more efficiently because labor is a big issue. Trying to do things more efficiently these days," said Rob Donaldson, who runs Rob's Horst Packing in Southern Mahoning County.

He says that packing equipment costs six figures.
They'll now be able to do more with less, keeping that bottom line in check.

Other packing facilities say they will use the grants to expand their capacity, renovate or build new facilities and possibly hire more workers to meet local demand so you're less likely to see empty shelves.