Matt Rains to Lead Special Projects
Montana Farmers Union is pleased to announce the hiring of Matt Rains as Special Projects Manager for the organization. Rains is a horse breeder and trainer for the Birdtail Ranch. He has a Systems Engineering degree from West Point and an MBA from Washington University – St. Louis. He served seven years active duty as an Army officer and UH-60 pilot with tours to Iraq and South Korea. After the military he spent four years as an international humanitarian photographer doing projects in Kenya, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Myanmar, and Kurdistan. Following his time abroad he worked in the energy sector as a power plant inspector responsible for the maintenance of over 40 plants across the country. He returned to the Birdtail Ranch to rebuild his family’s Quarter Horse operation with a focus on performance horse bloodlines coupled with the ranch legacy lines.
Rains will focus on special projects including the development of a Montana Farmers Union Meat Cooperative in coordination with a mobile slaughter unit, and development of a Farmers Union hemp processing plant. The objective of the meat cooperative is to provide in-state slaughter processing for small to medium sized producers to take their beef, hogs, sheep, and/or bison from live to package. MFU is also working with MSU Northern to develop a meat processing curriculum utilizing the mobile unit. The program will be the first ever meat processing curriculum in the country that teaches meat processing from harvest to retail. MSU Northern students who enroll in the program will earn anywhere from a one-year certificate to a bachelor’s degree with a focus on business management and marketing. Rains will manage the development, logistics, and financial planning of the project.
“I’m very excited to help introduce a local processing option to Montana producers,” said Rains. “They need a processing option which allows ranchers to offer their own meat products to retailers. This solution grants them significantly more control in their own business model. Once fully operational the concept allows for easy expansion across the state to provide additional volume and location convenience.” Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer is looking forward to Matt’s leadership on these and other projects.” Matt is very talented and brings a lot to the Farmers Union team,” said Schweitzer. “We have many exciting projects in the future! Matt is the right individual to lead these efforts.”