Tester Secures An Additional $9.7 Million to Expand Meat and Poultry Processing in Montana

Funding will come from Tester’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured $9,752,250 for Bear Paw Development to finance expanded meat and poultry processing in five regions across Montana. In order to reach markets across the state, Bear Paw Development has partnered with Sweetgrass Development Corporation, Great Falls; Headwaters RC&D, Butte; Montana Business Assistance Connection, Helena; and Snowy Mountain Development Corporation, Lewistown. This loan was awarded through USDA Rural Development’s Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP), which was funded through Tester’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Tester helped negotiate the ARPA and he was the only Montana statewide official that supported the legislation.

“Too many folks in Washington don’t understand the challenges small business owners in rural America are facing,” said Tester. “Montana’s ranchers raise some of the best beef in the world, and I’ll always fight to ensure they can process that beef right here in their own backyard. That’s why I’m proud to have secured this funding that will expand meat and poultry processing, boost local businesses, strengthen our supply chains, and create good-paying jobs in the process.”  

Tester’s American Rescue Plan Act dedicated $1 billion for the expansion and diversification of independent processing capacity. In order to meet this objective, USDA created a number of Meat and Poultry Supply Chain programs and initiatives.

Tester has led the charge to expand meat processing capacity in Montana. In January, Tester secured more than $1 million to help seven Montana meat processors expand their operations and processing capacities, grow their customer bases, and assist with production, operational, and marketing costs. Last March, Tester secured $7.8 million for 30 Montana agriculture small businesses, which included funding for three new USDA-certified meat processing facilities.

Last November, Tester secured $2 million from the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program for the Great Falls Development Authority Inc. The funding, provided through ARPA, will go toward expanding GFDA’s relending work, providing support for both existing meat and poultry processing operations in the Great Falls region that are looking to grow as well as entrepreneurs looking to start new operations. Tester also secured $291,900 from the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) for the Montana Premium Processing Cooperative (MPPC) in Havre.


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