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USDA Invests Nearly $1 Million in Rural Cooperatives to Increase Economic Opportunity and Advance Equity Montana

Mark McCann
Release Date

Bozeman, Mont., Nov. 9, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Montana State Director Kathleen Williams announced today an investment of more than $820,000 in grant funding to generate economic development and advance equity in Montana’s rural and Tribal business communities.    

“The fabric of Montana is a rich tapestry of strong, vibrant rural and Tribal communities that deserve the opportunity to compete for social and economic advancement, just as our more developed urban areas can,” said Williams. “These three USDA grant programs provide much needed financial resources to our valued partners to help rural and Tribal communities sustain and thrive.” 

Montana is part of a nationwide announcement today that includes a total USDA investment of $1.2 billion to support 112 projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico. Awards in Montana were made through USDA’s  Rural Cooperative Development Grant, Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant, and Value-Added Producer Grant programs and include:  

Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) in Great Falls, Montana, received a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant to fund the Center's operational costs so they can continue providing technical assistance to rural cooperatives and mutually owned businesses in all 56 of Montana's counties and eight sovereign Tribal nations.

Montana Cooperative Development Center also received a $175,000 Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant to help Indigenous communities build cooperative business models and women's equity programs. They will continue working with partners to build efficiencies and best practices that extend beyond Montana and share these practices with other Indigenous communities.

Lake County Cooperative Development Corporation (LCCDC) in Ronan, Montana, received a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant to expand capacity of rural cooperatives and mutually owned businesses in Sanders, Mineral and Lake Counties in southwestern Montana, and provide economic development services to the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe.

Western Montana Grower’s Cooperative in Missoula, Montana, received a $246,447 Value-Added Producer Grant to provide working capital funds for distribution to new customers within its market.   This independent, 35- producer owned cooperative sources local produce, meats, dairy, eggs, and honey within a 400-mile radius of Missoula and is expected to gain 50 new wholesale customers and increase revenue by $2.3 million because of the grant.

USDA Rural Development provides grants, loans, and loan guarantees to expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural and Tribal areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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                                                                                USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.


USDA Rural Development has six offices in Montana – Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. To learn more about investment resources for rural and Tribal areas in Montana, call (406) 585-2587 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt.