HELENA, Mont. -- Seven Montana businesses have been awarded a total of $49,350 in grants to help Montana grown and raised food get into Montana’s schools and institutions. Funding comes from the state’s Growth Through Agriculture program.
According to Dave Tyler, chairman of the Montana Agriculture Development Council that oversees the program, "The mission of the GTA program is to help strengthen and diversify agriculture in Montana. These grants fulfill that mission by helping Montana businesses process more of our agricultural commodities into the foods Montana’s schools demand."
Farm-to-school projects were awarded between $3,000 and $10,000 to assist with up to half of equipment costs needed to access or expand sales to school or other institutional markets.
Bausch Potatoes, a potato producer and processor near Whitehall, received a grant to purchase a centrifuge that is critical to the business' expansion. Bausch Potatoes has been selling its hash browns and other potato products to local restaurants, grocery stores and schools for more than twenty years.
"The new equipment will expand production capacity, which will allow for expansion into new institutional markets including Livingston School District," says Mark Bausch, owner of Bausch Potatoes.
"As the director of food services it is my goal to incorporate local products on a consistent basis throughout our school year," says John Polacik, food service director of Livingston School Districts 1 and 4. "Bausch Potatoes are already a breakfast staple and occasionally served for lunch in our cafeterias. School districts have been enthusiastic about purchasing more potato varieties from Bausch Potatoes. The purchase of a new centrifuge machine will help Bausch maintain the product availability we demand for more meals."
Another grant recipient, Bear Paw Meats of Chinook, will use funds to purchase new equipment that will allow the business to expand its production in six school districts it currently serves. In addition to deli meats and polish sausages, the schools will also be able to offer students locally produced sausage links and hot dogs from Bear Paw Meats.
"With a link machine, not only will we be able to offer more products but this machine will also enable us to be more efficient in our processing, increase our productivity and add a job to the 10 people we already employ," said Bobbi Klingaman, Bear Paw Meats manager.
For a complete list of GTA grant awards, see below.
The Agriculture Development Council, which consists of representatives from agriculture and government, is interested in business projects that involve processing and adding value to Montana grown and raised commodities.
List of GTA Farm to School 2013 Pilot Project Grant Recipients:
The Community Food Co-op, Inc.
$10,000 grant to assist the co-op in Bozeman, Montana, with the purchase of a walk-in freezer in order to expand their ability to purchase, process and store local produce from the area's growers in order to partner with Gallatin Valley Farm to School and provide school snacks for Hawthorne Elementary School.
Bear Paw Meats, LLC
$10,000 grant to assist the meat processor in Chinook, Montana, with the purchase of linker/stuffer equipment in order to expand its product line of meat products into Malta and Turner schools.
Todd Ulizio dba Ten Lakes Farm
$3,000 grant to assist the Eureka-Whitefish area vegetable producer with purchase of a mechanical barrel washer that will allow the farm to provide the first stage of processing carrots for the Whitefish Schools.
Lake County Community Development Corporation
$10,000 grant to assist the non-profit organization in Ronan, Montana, that houses the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, with the purchase of a walk-in freezer to increase the capacity for storing locally grown vegetables and fruit demanded from schools in Kalispell and Ronan. The produce is mostly raised by producers in the Western Montana Grower's Cooperative and other area growers and processed by the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center.
Bausch Potatoes Inc.
$3,000 grant to assist the potato producer and processor near Whitehall, Montana, with purchase of centrifuge equipment to increase processing capacity in order to supply hash browns, French fries and other specialty cuts to Livingston Schools.
Meat Montana, LLC / Germann Ranch, Inc.
$3,350 grant to assist the meat processing company in McAllister, Montana, with the purchase of vacuum packaging equipment to meet the requirements of supplying meat to Montana State University and increase capacity for market expansion into other school and institutional markets.
T.E.C.K. Corp., dba On the Rise Bread Co.
$10,000 grant to assist the bakery in Bozeman, Montana, with the purchase of a special oven to expand beyond their current artisan bread product line to supply Montana State University and Livingston Schools with additional baked items including sliced breads, buns, and cookies.
Angela Nelson, Program Manager
Growth Through Agriculture Program
Phone: (406) 444-0134
Lindy Davies, Program Specialist
Growth Through Agriculture Program
Phone: (406) 444-0511
Published: June 11, 2013 12:00:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: June 11, 2013 11:55:02 AM MDT