Tester Visits Old Salt Co-Op In Helena to Talk American Rescue Plan Funding he Secured for 30 Montana Ag Small Businesses

Tester Secured Funding for Old Salt Co-Op and 29 Other Montana Ag Small Businesses through the American Rescue Plan Act

U.S. Senator Jon Tester held a press conference today at Old Salt Co-Op in Helena to discuss the $150,000 he secured for the business to increase direct to consumer meat marketing and explore a proposed slaughter facility through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Tester secured funding for a total of 30 Montana small businesses, including 17 meat processing projects and resources for three new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected meat processing facilities.

“We’re here today because for far too long we’ve seen consolidation in the meatpacking industry squeeze Montana’s family ranchers out of business,” Tester said. “Capitalism has helped to make the United States the greatest nation the world has ever seen—but capitalism only works when there’s competition. This funding will help Montana’s producers get a fair shake, and ensure consumers aren’t paying an arm and a leg for the best beef in the nation. The American Rescue Plan is continuing to deliver for Montanans by getting folks back to work, and helping our economy rebound by making a difference for growing small businesses like this one.”

Old Salt Co-Op specializes in purveying world class meats from responsibly-raised Montana livestock. The co-op is committed to establishing a regenerative supply chain that connects ranchers with customers who care about their meat being ethically raised and sourced. With the help of the ARPA funding Senator Tester secured, Old Salt will launch their state-of-the-art processing operation near Winston this October, and their flagship butcher shop and restaurant, Old Salt Public House, in the fall of 2023.

Tester was joined at the event by Old Salt Co-Op Co-Founder Cole Mannix.

The funding secured by Senator Tester is part of his aggressive effort to defend Montana agriculture producers and reduce consolidation in the packing industry by expanding local meat processing capacity. Tester helped negotiate ARPA, which provided this funding, and he was the only Montana statewide official that supported the legislation. Thanks to ARPA, Montana’s unemployment rate is currently at the lowest rate in state history.