By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist
Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) hosted its annual National Co-op Month Celebration in Great Falls on October 17. MCDC board members and staff celebrated with local partners, friends, and state officials for a lively discussion on the success and future of cooperatives. Featured guest USDA-Rural Development State Director Charles Robison spoke about the positive economic impact cooperative businesses have had in the state and how co-ops can continue to be a successful business model for future economic development in rural Montana.
Robison presented MCDC with a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Award and a $68,865 Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant to help the center continue developing new cooperative businesses into the new decade. “President Trump has targeted resources to promote agriculture and rural prosperity, providing opportunities for rural communities,” said Robison. He added, “MCDC strives to strengthen and grow cooperatives in rural Montana. USDA has awarded these two grants to MCDC to support their mission because we know when rural Montana prospers, all of Montana prospers.”
Other speakers included Cheryl Ulmer, Regional Director for U.S. Senator Jon Tester. She delivered a message from Senator Tester, reaffirming his support of co-ops in the state and expressing the important role they play in Montana’s economic development.