Glacier Processing Cooperative Forms to Tackle Meat Processing Capacity in Flathead: Informational Meeting Planned May 31
Producers and community members are welcome to attend an informational meeting about a new co-op formed for meat processing in the Flathead.
Glacier Processing Cooperative has officially formed with the intent of acquiring and operating Vandevanter Meats after news that the owner – who is ready to retire – couldn’t find a buyer and was going to liquidate. Already, there is unmet processing need in the Flathead and the potential of losing a current processing facility spurred people to find a solution.
“It’s a business that we want to remain, of course. Our success and our resiliency is dependent on it,” said Mark Siderius, who is chairman of the co-op’s board and also president of the Flathead Farmers Union Local.
“Every animal that we can process locally and sell locally into the direct market is an animal that we know what our profit margin is. … It gives us stability in the market,” Siderius said.
A cooperative model means many people passionate about meat processing capacity and local food supply chains can join together to address both those issues.
A co-op also provides protection from a single owner selling to developers.
“If it’s in a co-op, it’s going to be protected in perpetuity for the producers and consumers,” Siderius said.
Currently, the co-op is working through a feasibility study for acquiring and operating the meat processing facility, with plans to start accepting members later this summer and be up and running in 2024.
People can learn more about the co-op, its importance, and next steps during an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m., May 31, at the Flathead Electric Cooperative Community Room, 2510 US Hwy 2 East Kalispell.
During the meeting, people will be given an update on the co-op’s formation, as well as a panel discussion, and Q&A.
“I want people to feel that this is an opportunity to be a member of the co-op or to be an investor in the co-op,” Siderius said.
A Flathead Farmers Union Local meeting will immediately precede the co-op meeting and will begin at 6 p.m. Scholarship updates, as well as business and MFU organizational updates will be given.
Text and email RSVPs are appreciated to Carissa McNamara at 406-333-1886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flathead Farmers Union Local Glacier Processing Cooperative Montana Farmers Union