Old Salt Co-Op empowers ranchers and employees to earn living wages, care for the land, and maintain the control of their products from pasture to purchase.
Funded on 10/25/2023
Given enough time, the land is the hero of every story.
For generations, the founding families of the Old Salt Co-Op have been ranching the sweeping hills and valleys in western Montana. The stories of these families are rich with people coming and going; animals coming and going; and ideas coming and going. But the land remains—the common thread uniting and sustaining all the generations that choose to write their stories there.
It is this generational perspective that shaped the idea that would become Old Salt Co-Op—a community effort to produce not only incredible meat from sacred land, but also community, ecological abundance, economic independence, regional resilience, and respect for the gifts we’ve been given.
This rich mission of Old Salt stands in stark contrast to the predominant and profit-driven commodity meat production system that degrades entire regions through unchecked extraction—of land, animals, and people.
It’s the rise of this consolidation model over the last 80 years that removed the vital food production infrastructure from the landscape. Today, the closest appropriately-sized processing facilities to the ranching families of the Blackfoot Valley is over 500 miles away. This leaves ranchers with no choice but to sell their animals into commodity markets for a fraction of their true value.
Old Salt Co-op offers a new way forward.
Their new co-operative infrastructure model allows partnering ranches to keep their entire production chain—from pasture to purchaser—rooted in the local food economy. In addition to yielding the highest quality food for customers, the fully integrated processing and sales outlets allow producers to create more local jobs, highlight the full diversity of their product offerings, and capture more margin to re-invest in the stewardship of their working lands, staff, families, and communities.
This is more than just a meat company.
The interconnected nature of Old Salt’s supply chain requires development to take place in multiple locations simultaneously. To support uninterrupted construction progress, while also engaging the Steward lending community at a reasonable pace, fundraising for the Old Salt Co-op project will be offered in multiple stages over the next 6-12 months. Each will represent a key aspect of Old Salt’s mission and model, highlighting the structure and impact of their business.
Old Salt’s model is built on the idea that when producers have an alternative to a commodity system that makes their decisions for them and reduces their profits to razor-thin margins, then producers will also have more resources and capacity to invest in the ecological stewardship of their lands. Old Salt intentionally steers away from buzzword branding, which is constantly shifting and can cause division in agricultural communities, in an effort to build connection and investment in sustainable, regional food systems.
This loan will be issued to the Montana limited liability companies Old Salt Co-op LLC and all of its fully owned subsidiaries, Butchers Table LLC, Old Salt Meat Company LLC, and Old Salt Outpost LLC.
The total loan amount of $6,275,000.00 will comprise multiple, discrete projects, with funds disbursed across multiple Old Salt business units. Nevertheless, each project is a constituent part of a single loan. Steward will ensure all assets of the Old Salt family of companies provide security for the single loan regardless of the specific use of funds by (a) listing all entities as co-borrowers on the loan, (b) filing a general lien across all business assets at the parent company level, and (c) securing first mortgages on all real property assets.
Uses of funds for this loan include the acquisition, construction, buildout, and operation of a livestock processing facility and related enterprises, including a butcher shop and restaurant, on properties located at 2840 Bozeman Ave, 361 N Last Chance Gulch, 406 N Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT 59601, and a third property with a purchase price of approximately $350K to be selected during the proposed loan term.
The borrower’s interest rate for this loan is 8%, with a net interest rate of 7.5% being passed on to the lender (accounting for a .5% servicing spread). The loan term is 60 months, with 24 months of interest-only payments starting the first month after the loan is disbursed (the first 18 months of payments are reserved and are being funded from loan proceeds). Beginning in month 25, loan payments will include interest and partially amortized principal payments running on a 20-year amortization schedule.
Loan funds will be used to complete the acquisition, construction, buildout, and operation of a livestock processing facility and related enterprises. The capital stack for this project consists of Steward’s senior debt, a subordinate loan through USDA MPILP (Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program) funds administered by Great Falls Economic Development Authority, and borrower equity.
Funds will be used to fund various acquisitions, development, and working capital for the following Old Salt Entities:
Butcher’s Table LLC: approx. $3,470,000.00
Old Salt Meat Company LLC:
Processing: approx. $2,200,000.00 (inclusive of TBD land acquisition)
Abattoir: approx. $1,920,000.00
In total Steward’s senior debt will not exceed $6,275,000.00.
Months 1-24 - Lenders will receive a payment equal to one twelfth (1/12) of 7.5% of their outstanding loan balance. By way of example, a Lender with an outstanding loan amount of $100 would receive a monthly payment of $0.63; a Lender with an outstanding loan amount of $1,000 would receive a monthly payment of $6.25; and a lender with an outstanding loan amount of $25,000 would receive a monthly payment of $156.25.
Months 25-60 - Lenders will receive a consistent payment equal to one twelfth (1/12) of 7.5% of their outstanding loan balance and a repayment of principal following a 20 year amortization schedule. Due to this schedule the loan will balloon at the end of term at which point the remaining outstanding principal will be repaid to Lenders. By way of example:
A Lender a $100 participation would receive monthly payments of $0.84, split between principal and interest. For month 25 the split would be principal: $0.17 and interest: $0.63. In the following months as the loan is paid down the portion of the payment toward interest reduces and the portion applied to principal increases until the end of the loan term when a $88.78 balloon payment is due.
A Lender with a $1,000 participation would receive monthly payments of $8.36, split between principal and interest. For month 25 the split would be principal: $1.70 and interest: $6.25. In the following months as the loan is paid down the portion of the payment toward interest reduces and the portion applied to principal increases until the end of the loan term when a $877.77 balloon payment is due.
A Lender with a $25,000 participation would receive monthly payments of $209.11, split between principal and interest. For month 25 the split would be principal: $42.44 and interest: $156.25. In the following months as the loan is paid down the portion of the payment toward interest reduces and the portion applied to principal increases until the end of the loan term when a $21,944.21 balloon payment is due.
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