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CSKT meat processing plant will mean more options for local ranchers and hunters

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) are planning to build a local meat processing plant to expand services for local hunters and ranchers.

The tribes are applying for a $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help build a processing plant on the Flathead Reservation.

CSKT Planning Director Janet Camel said many local ranchers can’t keep cattle through the winter and are forced to sell animals out of state when local processors are too busy.

“So they sell to brokers in the fall and don’t get as much money as they believe they should be getting,” Camel said.

Camel said the processing plant would also provide services for tribal substance hunters, who struggle to find meat processing services. The tribes plan to harvest bison from the National Bison Range when managers need to thin the herd. That meat would be distributed through tribal food programs.

Camel said the tribes are reliant on the USDA grant to launch the project. The USDA is set to announce awards for tribal projects across the country this fall.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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