Tester helps secure grant for Fort Belknap food cooperative

USDA funding will increase food options for tribal members, create jobs

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Fort Belknap Indian Community will receive significant support to help establish a cooperative that will provide fresh produce for tribal members.

Tester – who chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee – helped secure a $317,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) so Fort Belknap can build a trading post and food cooperative. The cooperative is expected to offer fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Healthy food builds healthy communities,” said Tester, the Senate’s only working farmer. “This grant will not only help put good food on the table for folks in Indian Country, it will also help create jobs and spur economic development. I appreciate the work that Fort Belknap did to secure this funding and look forward to seeing more economic development projects like this around Indian Country.”

The cooperative is expected to create as many as 14 new jobs on the Reservation.

This grant is awarded through the USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which promotes the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. Native American communities in 19 states received a total of $2.7 million as part of the RBEG program.