LOTHAIR — About 10 miles away from the town of Chester on the Hi-Line is a new facility that was celebrated by community members from around the area.
An open house was hosted in Lothair for Prairie Meats, where the Diemert family worked 15 months on their facility, and thanks to some ARPA funds, it is now complete.
Owner Clark Diemert said, "It's a pretty good feeling. We started building this facility in May of '21 and it's been a long journey since then, and it's a great feeling to finally get it finished and get some people out here to check it out."
So far, it is Clark and his mother that operate the business, alongside one other employee. Clark said one of his reasons for doing this is to work with other farmers and ranchers in supporting the Montana community.
The path, however, did not come easy.
"There's always been a demand in this area especially," Clark explained. "It's been a struggle getting animals to other facilities, and we like to be able to have quality control over our animals. Being able to raise our animals as a calve, feed them, and bring them here to slaughter them, we have quality insurance throughout the whole process, and that means a lot to us."
Liberty County Commissioner Larry Hendrickson believes this facility goes a long way in working with farmers and ranchers in the area.
Hendrickson said, "It's always exciting when young people come back to the community, and when young people come back through the community with the plan, it's even better. So, we're going to add value to the local agriculture and we're going to add a few jobs to the community. it's just a good thing."
Rancher Maverick Cady says he was very pleased with how the facility looks: "I think he's done a really great job here, using the shop and it's super clean. I think everything is set up just perfect, and he's got a lot of room for the facility, and he's done a really big thing here for the community."
Maverick also noted the fact that being close by will also provide other benefits as well: "just having a local butcher that we know very well and that we can work with, and this close, it's going to just be great for the area and great for Clark and great for everything here. We're really excited to work with him."
Now that Clark has received the ARPA funds, he is getting ready for the next steps.
Clark said, "We're going to try to push for state or federal USDA inspection and see where we go from there."
Prairie Meats is at 3779 Road 100 E, Lothair, Montana, 59461; click here to visit the Facebook page.
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