The Producer Partnership

The Producer Partnership is a nonprofit organization tackling state-wide food insecurity in Montana. Learn more about how Matt Pierson, a rancher from Livingston, Montana, has donated more than 250,000 lbs of ground beef to area food banks.

The Producer Partnership

In a state where the cattle outnumber the people, and agriculture is the biggest grossing industry, the issue of hunger might not be top of mind. But despite the abundance of farms and ranches producing food in Montana, almost 1 in 12 Montanans experience food insecurity. During the height of the pandemic, one Montanan decided to do something about it.


The Producer Partnership

Matt Pierson, a 5th generation rancher from Livingston, Montana, founded The Producer Partnership in 2020. The Producer Partnership is a non-profit organization that provides fresh beef to Montana food banks—with help from area ranchers. Ranchers can donate livestock that they plan to cull, or animals that are retired or injured, and the Producer Partnership will process the animal into 1 lb packages of ground beef for those in need.

The Producer Partnership works with farmers and ranchers across Montana to process donated livestock.

Initially, The Producer Partnership processed their donated animals using local meat processing facilities in the Livingston area—but quickly realized that they would need to build their own facility to be able to deliver the intended supply of beef. During the pandemic, many meat processing facilities were under the strain of increased demand and were operating with a reduced workforce. In late 2021, The Producer Partnership began processing animals themselves on Pierson’s ranch. Working with Washington-based company Friesla, they built a modular processing facility where they can “harvest, chill, fabricate, package, free and store” beef for themselves. The Producer Partnership processing facility follows strict USDA safety requirements and is the first federally inspected non-profit processing facility in the United States.


After processing, the donated beef is frozen and distributed to food banks and schools throughout the state, coordinated by the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN). Producers get a tax credit for their donated animal, and locals experiencing food insecurity get fresh, locally-raised beef. Since its launch just over three years ago, Producer Partnership has donated more than 250,000 pounds of beef to the Montana Food Bank Network.

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is “the condition of not having access to sufficient food, or food of an adequate quality, to meet one’s basic needs.” According to Feeding America, 44 million people in the United States experience food insecurity annually. Closely related to financial insecurity, food insecurity is often a result of low wages and rising costs. Lack of access to food can also lead to food security issues, especially for those living in rural areas who don’t have the convenience of visiting a local supermarket anytime they like.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans experienced a loss of income and increased living expenses at the same time, conditions that usually challenge food security. Yet food insecurity rates have decreased over the last few years—thanks to the many public and private programs that arose during a time of national crisis. While food banks received fewer donations from supermarkets (as demand surged amidst production and delivery delays), the government stimulus package and programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotment helped to make up the difference. 

Source: Montana Food Bank Network, 2023 Montana Hunger Report

Food Security in Montana

Now that most of the pandemic-related programs have ended, many Montanans are left facing rising interest rates and more expensive food costs—without any additional support benefits. Food banks serviced a growing number of people in 2023, making food donations from organizations like The Producer Partnership more important than ever. The growing need for food donations in our community is what inspired Western Ranch Brokers to donate to the Producer Partnership. Partner Bill Boyce generously donated two steers from his family ranch in Lewistown, Montana which will supply roughly 625 lbs. of beef to the community. The sense of community amongst Montanans is very strong, Bill says, 

It may be a small contribution, but there’s an obvious and direct need to help supply quality protein to Montanans. There’s also a sense of comfort knowing the beef we donated was raised locally, processed by a trusted organization, and distributed to the people who need it the most. Taking care of our own is part of the cowboy code.

Western Ranch Brokers is proud to help support The Producer Partnership and their goal of ending hunger in Montana. Our team looks forward to collaborating with this important organization in the future. As fifth-generation Montanans, we value the sense of community in Montana and understand the importance of helping our friends and neighbors who are experiencing challenging times.  

To learn more about The Producer Partnership, and how you can donate, visit their website or give us a call at (406) 589-4160.

Western Ranch Brokers contact information

The information contained herein was obtained from sources deemed to be reliable. Western Ranch Brokers makes no warranties or guarantees as to the completeness or accuracy thereof.
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