The Western Montana Growers Cooperate in Missoula County will receive $147,000 in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan to expand operations, Sen. Jon Tester said last week.

Tester said the funds represent a portion of the $7.8 million secured through ARPA to support 30 small Montana businesses, including 17 meat processing projects and three newly certified meat processing plants.

“Production ag is the cornerstone of our state’s economy,” Tester said in a statement. “I’m proud to have secured this American Rescue Plan investment for the Western Montana Growers Cooperative so that we can help support Missoula producers and grow their operations for years to come.”

Tester was the only member of Montana's congressional delegation to support ARPA. The legislation has provided $20 billion in vaccine funding, $382 million for Montana K-12 schools, and billions for small businesses, rural hospitals and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Western Montana Growers Cooperative will use the funds to expand its operations and support increased local food distribution. Members provide access to Montana grown products across the Pacific Northwest, which Tester said supports local businesses and strengthens the state's economy.

The cooperative is owned by producers from the Flathead, Jocko, and Mission and Bitterroot Valleys.