Producer Partnership looking for more protein
Last updated 10/20/2021 at 8:38am
Montana non-profit Producer Partnership is calling on the help of farmers and ranchers who want to work together in ending hunger in Montana.
Since foundation in 2019, the Producer Partnership has donated nearly 80,000 pounds of beef to the Montana Food Bank Networks .
“We are local producers, local meat processors, and local food centers working in partnership to provide Montana meat to those individuals and families with food insecurity. This is the spirit of Montana neighbors helping one another in times of trouble,” Producer Partnership President Matt Pierson said.
Producer Partnership announced in the spring the construction of Montana’s first federally inspected non-profit processing unit for their usage and the community’s. Although the unit is set to open its doors by the end of 2021, the Partnership is still eagerly accepting animals for processing at existing plants.
“Right now, we are accepting pigs, cows and sheep. Once we get the unit up and running, we can process anything from a goat to a bison,” Pierson said.
Pierson added that although most producer partners have donated beef in the past, the addition of pigs and sheep to the Partnership’s stock is exciting and will feed the same Montanans in need as beef does. He also stated adding pork and lamb to the Producer Partnership menu benefits more producers across the state.
“Adding pigs and sheep to our list of processed animals helps a great number of other producers. Pig and sheep producers can also get the opportunity for the tax benefit, and we would love the chance to give a variety of protein to the Montana Food Bank Network,” Pierson said.
People who are producers looking to donate a cow, pig or sheep to the Producer Partnership can follow these three steps:
Step 1: The producer, a farmer or rancher selects an animal(s) from their herd. This may be a cull animal.
The producer contacts Pierson or one of the local volunteers to offer the donation of the animal to the partnership. If the animal meets Producer Partnership strict health and condition criteria, the process moves to Step 2.
Step 2: The producer or an approved partnership volunteer loads the animal and transports it to a USDA or state processing facility that has been vetted and selected by the partnership. When an approved processor is not available locally, the partnership will pick up the animal from the producer and transport it to an approved holding corral.
When ready, the animal is processed into hamburger and the partnership pays the bill.
Step 3: When the frozen meat is ready for pickup, the partnership contacts the local food bank, community center or other approved non-profit agency. The meat is either delivered by a partnership volunteer or picked up by the receiving organization for individual distribution to those with food insecurity.
“It’s a win-win-win for everyone: the producer, the Montana Food Bank Network, and hungry Montanans who are eager to serve their family protein,” Pierson said.
To learn more about Producer Partnership, people can visit http://www.producerpartnership.com . To donate an animal, people can contact Pierson at 406-220-7223 or Program Administrator Mayzie Purviance Cremer at 903-905-6029.