HELENA — More than 60 Montana meat processors received their share of more than $7.5 million of coronavirus relief funds on Aug. 4 to help build stability among Montana's small businesses.
K&S Processing in Helena received more than $146,000 which Aaron Knutson said they plan on using to help add on to his existing building to create more cold storage space. A welcome sight, given the uptick in business Knutson says he's seen since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“That's going to go to another building, in addition to this building, for more cooler and more space," said Knutson. "Everybody wants to know where their meat is coming from, and they want a local sustainable meat product done here in their own town."
Though the grant his business received likely won't cover the full cost of his plans, Knutson says the money he received will go a long way in not only helping his business but the local economy as a whole.
“I'll probably have to put in a few, $10,000 to $15,000 on my own, but the grant money will help out tremendously to add on to a small, locally-owned, family-owned business, which will help out long term.”
The grants awarded were capped at $150,000 and were awarded to help small to medium-sized meat processors with purchasing better equipment, and build better facilities and storage spaces.
In Great Falls, Bob Bixler of the Butcher Block told MTN they plan on building a 6,000 square foot facility to help with butchering and the grant will go towards providing necessities like power, water, and disposal. Bixler said he hopes by the time everything is done, the plant will be able to add 10 more jobs in the area.
"It's going to grow our business, we'll actually need to add about 10 employees, once we get the project completed, and we're fully up and running," said Bixler.