HELENA — The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation Cattle Drive program matches Montana-born, raised, and fed cattle with local restaurants and retailers.
“From start to finish, if we can keep it all local that’s what we want to do. We want to keep Montana ranching and we want to keep Montanans eating the greatest quality beef because it’s here in Montana,” said Heidi Kool, the Program Coordinator for the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation.
This program is all to support their “Montanans feeding Montana initiative.”
The initiative aims to connect the Montana food service industry to Montana-raised beef.
This is the sixth year of the cattle drive program.
Each fall the MSF cattle drive program seeks steer donations from across the state.
The donated animals are transported to Shepherd, Montana where they are fed to an ideal weight.
When the steer is ready, it is matched to a restaurant or retailer in the steer’s region of origin.
“This year we decided just to take it a step further and to try to pair those steers with those local Montana restaurants and those local Montana processors,” Kool said.
Over 85% of the total steers last year were sold to local Montana retailers and restaurants.
The foundation pointed to a restaurant in Billings as an example of the success of the program.
“I know he high horse saloon for example is going to be doing a dinner in Billings on December 6 and they sold out within a number of days. A dinner specifically doing Montana-sourced beef that is coming from the steers they purchased from us,” said Kool.
The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is a non-profit organization established to ensure the future of Montana’s cattle industry.
“Continue that legacy that families are leaving. When they ranch, they don’t ranch to make a living they ranch to make a life,” Kool said.
The foundation supports the next generation by offering educational programs, and academic scholarships and providing leadership opportunities.
For more information on the foundation visit mtbeeffoundation.org.