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Blackfeet ARMP receives grant for study to develop multi-species processing plant

Posted at 2:50 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 17:52:03-05
MTN News File Photo

The Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan recently received a $40,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado.

The award will support the efforts of the ARMP’s Feasibility Study for the Development of a Multi-Species Processing Plant on the Blackfeet Reservation.

The study will investigate the benefits and challenges of creating a multi-species meat processing plant within the Blackfeet Nation. It is projected that a multi-species meat processing plant will offer significant opportunities to grow production within local beef and bison producers, offer employment and professional training, improve health outcomes through local food delivery systems, and increase activity in regional markets.

The feasibility study’s objectives will consider market strategies and brand development, food safety and inspection systems, labor availability and compensation, workforce skills and training, management and business structure, geographic area of influence, waste management, traditional values, and start-up and operating capital needs, according to a press release.

The project will tie together many of the ARMP’s goals, including the Blackfeet Food Sovereignty project by restoring commercial and wild bison herds and ideal grazing conditions; reconnect the community to traditional cultural foods; and improve economic opportunities for producers and communities through value-added agriculture and nature-based businesses.

According to Loren Birdrattler, Blackfeet ARMP’s Project Manager, “The feasibility study will explore the economic feasibility of a processing plant, it will also explore transportation infrastructure needed to support the processing plant. We will look at the marketability of Blackfeet beef, bison, possibly hogs, chickens and wild game both regionally and in international markets. It will coincide with the development of a Blackfoot Confederacy beef label that could possibly be grass finished with an accompanying feed lot.”

Birdrattler said the study will go a long way in putting more money in the pockets of local producers including beef, bison, and other Blackfeet grown products.

“We have entered into a partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology based in Butte, MT, who will be conducting the study. They specialize in business feasibility, marketing, technology and the technical assistance that accompanies such large projects.”

For more information about the ARMP, contact Loren Birdrattler at (406) 338-7521 Ext. 2370 and via email: lbirdrattle@blackfeetnation.com or visit the Blackfeet ARMP website.