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Fed Funds for Small MT Meat Processors Fend off Industry Consolidation

Fed Funds for Small MT Meat Processors Fend off Industry Consolidation

Small Montana meat processors are on the front lines against the large companies that control the industry. Funding from the American Rescue Plan is helping these processors compete.

$7.8 million were secured for 30 Montana businesses from the COVID relief legislation. That includes $450,000 for Hamilton Packing Company in the Bitterroot Valley.

Jason Schlange is owner of the business, which has been around since 1969.

"All of our stuff here," said Schlange, "it's a little bit older so we're going to be to get it up to snuff and do a little bit of expanding in the process so we have a little bit more room for cooler and freezer storage, which is important. And we'll be able to upgrade our retail facility, so have a little bit more to offer."

Sen. Jon Tester - D-MT - led efforts to secure funds for small meat processors in Montana.

He says consolidation among the country's four big meat processors - which own the vast majority of the market - is driving meat processors, ranchers and other small businesses to close.

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