Tester Secures More Than $1.1 Million to Expand Meat Processing Capacity in Montana
Montana will receive seven Value-Added Producer Grants from USDA Rural Development
As part of his continued push to support small business in rural America, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured $1.109 million to support and expand meat processing operations across Montana. The funding comes from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and will be awarded in the form of seven Value-Added Producers Grants (VAPG). The grants will help seven Montana meat processors keep up with growing demand by enabling them to expand their operations and processing capacities; growing their customer bases; and assisting with production, operational, and marketing costs.
“Every day, consolidation in the ag industry is putting small processors out of business,” said Tester. “These grants will ensure that our small business owners have the resources they need to stay competitive, while creating jobs and lowering costs for producers and consumers. I’m proud to have secured this funding to fight consolidation and give our small businesses a fair shake.”
“These emergency flood relief funds are critical to restoring our communities and public lands that were devastated by the June, 2022 flood,” said Teresa Erickson, President of the East Rosebud Lake Association. “Thank you to Senator Tester for recognizing the importance of fighting to direct the funding to the most impacted communities and the Custer Gallatin Forest – a public jewel enjoyed by hikers, campers, hunters, fishermen, and cabin owners. With these funds, flooded out towns can return somewhat to normal life and members of the public can once again access and enjoy the special Beartooth District public lands jewels.”
A full breakdown of the funding can be found below:
- $49,900 – Lane Legacy Beef, Ismay (Custer County)
- $250,000 – Belcrest LLC, Bozeman (Gallatin County)
- $49,900 – North of Nowhere Farm LLC, Opheim (Valley County)
- $250,000 – E&S Ranch, Eureka (Lincoln County)
- $250,000 – Pintler Mtn Beef, Philipsburg (Granite County)
- $211,436 – Math Farms Beef, Whitewater (Phillips County)
- $48,173 – Todd Family Meats, Big Timber (Sweet Grass County)
Tester has played a key role in expanding meat processing capability in Montana. Tester’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) 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. The Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program was one of several programs developed to support participants of these initiatives by providing technical assistance to expand processing at the state and local levels. 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.