Matt Rains to Lead Special Projects

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.”

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