Montana Farmers Union Unveils Mobile Meat Processing Unit
GREAT FALLS – To keep Montana beef local for the benefit of consumers and ranchers, the Montana Farmers Union is deploying a new mobile meat processing facility.
During the 106th Montana Farmers Union Convention in Great Falls, the organization literally “rolled out” the Montana Premium Processing Co-op.
Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer said the unit will give Montana producers control and retain the value of their cattle and give consumers more options to enjoy Montana beef.
“This processing plant is owned by the producer,” Schweitzer explained. “We all got together since we already sell cattle directly to the market. But you know, we have a hard time finding hooks to process our beef. We cannot have our animals slaughtered. So we got together to start this factory.
Montana Famers Union is working with MSU-Northern in Le Havre to operate the processing unit. In an effort to create a solid foundation for more treatment statewide.
“It will also be a laboratory that MSU-Northern can use to train its students in meat processing,” said Schweitzer. “Because they’re going to hopefully start a meat processing study program next year.” And if we’re going to expand our meat processing here in the state of Montana, we’re going to need more butchers. We’re going to need more inspectors. We’re going to need entrepreneurs. This could possibly open a butcher’s shop in your community.
Jordan Rancher Brett Dailey is a member of the Famers Union and president of the Montana Beef Council. He said the facility provides more opportunities for ranchers to make a profit, but also to promote Montana beef.
“At least it’s a great promotional tool for my product,” Dailey said. To be able to supply these animals locally to consumers who want them and who have a demand for this local product. “
How do producers participate in the Montana Premium Processing Co-op?
“You can buy a common stock,” Walter Schweitzer said. “This regular stock gives you the right to deliver livestock for harvest. It gives you the right to vote for the board of directors of the cooperative. And the fee structure is set by the members. It is a way for the cattle, the producers, to control their own destiny.
In addition to beef, the processing plant will be able to harvest hogs, sheep and bison.
The mobile processing unit will be fully operational at MSU-Nord in Le Havre this winter.