This project was successfully funded by a loan from Steward Regenerative Capital.
Old Salt empowers Montana ranchers to earn living wages and continue to steward the quality of their products beyond the pasture.
A lack of regional meat processing often puts Montana ranchers between a rock and a hard place. Unable to access an appropriate processing facility within 500+ miles, they must sell their product into commodity markets for a fraction of its value, or try to build a hyper-local meat brand that can only move a fraction of their herd. Old Salt Co-op offers a new model. Building a truly regional and vertically integrated supply chain from scratch—complete with a regional-scale processing facility, butcher shop, and two restaurants—allows the partnering ranches to keep their entire supply chain rooted in the Montana 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.
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 multi-draw SRC loan will be refinanced by a direct loan campaign from Steward's lender network. Click here for a detailed description of the full project.
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.
“Obviously salt fits with meat pretty well,” Cole Mannix says of the Old Salt brand name. “But another reason for the name is the idea of, when customers and producers engage more thoughtfully in the food system together, then we can enhance lands like salt enhances a recipe—like salt of the earth. It’s really about people participating in enhancing land and community rather than being extractive.”
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