MISSOULA, Mont. – The Missoula County Public School District can now expand its School House Meats program, a state-inspected meat lab run by local students.
Through the program, students learn to raise their own animals, process meat, and produce beef for school lunch programs and community members.
The Montana Farmers Union donated a refrigerated van to the program, which will help them deliver meat safely to Montana schools.
The $50,000 van is equipped with a cooler that can reach up to negative 10 degrees, allowing them to safely deliver meat across the state.
MFU said it donated the van because it supports its work to address the state’s shortage of meat processing capacity and the hands-on experience it provides for students.
Kristy Rothe, agricultural teacher and FFA adviser, said the van would allow them to expand their program.
“School House Meats has been around now for about three years and we’re kind of learning the ins and outs of having a meat processing plant as part of the school,” Rothe said. “Now we are able to start branching out and offer our services to a few more schools.”
In addition to the van, within a month the program also received two generous donations: a check for $25,000 from a community member and another check for $25,000 from a program alumnus who is now a banker. in Washington DC.
The teachers said they were blown away and incredibly grateful for recent donations that will go towards building a hall where customers can buy meat, without getting too close.