Working to unite, promote and strengthen
cooperative businesses across Montana
Montana Cooperative Development Center is proud to introduce our newest team member.
TaNeel Filesteel, Native American Cooperative Specialist
Please welcome TaNeel Filesteel to the Montana Cooperative community.
TaNeel Filesteel is a citizen of the Aaniih and Nakoda Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and Apsaalooke of the Crow Nation in Montana. TaNeel graduated from Salish Kootenai College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Tribal Administration and Governance. Filesteel served a one-year term as President of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Student Congress, where she lead initiatives on Get Out the Vote for the 2020 Presidential election, sustainability on TCU campus’s, and improving communication between TCU’s and AIHEC. In 2017, Filesteel was appointed to serve as the Deputy Prosecutor for the Fort Belknap Tribal Government. In 2018 she delivered a Tedx Talk at the 2018 TedxBozeman event, titled Lessons from a Tribal Prosecutor, where she weaves storytelling and poetry into a powerful presentation of healing. Filesteel has learned many valuable lessons throughout her experiences and is dedicated to helping marginalized populations throughout Montana.
Introducing the 2022 Montana Council of Cooperatives Board of Directors
Recently we had the retirement of three members from the board. THANK YOU to Buck Goldhahn, Ed Malesich, and Sharon Lasich for your commitment and contributions to the Council. We are going to miss you.

And we'd like to WELCOME new board members Dean Hanson and Emily Guldborg, and the newest addition, John Burgmaier.
Ben Boreson, President
District 5
Nemont Telephone Cooperative
Heidi Borlaug, Vice President
Sponsor Board Member
NW Farm Credit Services
Dave Kelsey, Sec./Treasurer
District 3
Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative
Tom Dedman
District 1
SW Montana Community FCU
Dean Hanson
District 2
Vigilante Electric Cooperative
Emily Guldborg
District 4
Grasslands Credit Union
Leslie Smith
District 6
Hill County Electric Co-op
John Burgmaier
District 7
Sun River Electric Co-op
Beth Satre
Sponsor Board Member
Montana's Credit Unions
Marianne Roose
Sponsor Board Member
MT Electric Co-op Assoc.
Cortney Wagner
Sponsor Board Member
CHS, Inc.
Jayme Durbin
Sponsor Board Member
Montana's Credit Union
2022 Montana Council of Cooperatives
Annual Meeting and Conference
The Council of Cooperatives held its 62nd annual meeting at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls, spanning two days on the 19th and 20th of February 2022. It was a highly successful hybrid meeting with numerous present in person and virtually. Attendees were highly engaged and interactive. Sessions included information on workforce development, housing and childcare, federal and state resources, and much more. If you missed it please visit the Montana Council of Cooperative's website to view the recordings and content materials.
Thank you our SPONSORS
MCDC has partnered with Zero to Five Montana to start a pilot program aimed at tackling the statewide child care crisis. Lack of affordable child care was an issue before the pandemic; now, it’s become a major problem. When people can’t find affordable child care, they leave the workforce to care for their children, weakening their community’s workforce. Employers struggle to retain and recruit employees, and people put their careers on hold.
Working with nine different communities across the state, we’ve provided technical support, research, and regular check-ins to help dedicated Montanans navigate the challenges that come with addressing child care shortages. MCDC has introduced the child care co-op model to each community as a way to engage employers, child care workers, and families in finding creative solutions to solve the child care problem. We’ve guided them through holding town meetings, creating steering committees, and developing business plans. By working with these diverse communities, MCDC has followed its mission statement of using the co-op model to address the economic and community needs they face. 
Introducing the CHS Foundation
Workforce Study
In 2021, MCDC received a CHS Foundation grant to develop a pre-apprenticeship program for Montana Cooperatives and do outreach and education in high schools on the cooperative advantage. Pre-apprenticeships allow students to gain on-the-job training and education to prepare them to enter the workforce directly after high school or continue into a full apprenticeship program.

We are conducting a comprehensive workforce study for all cooperative businesses in Montana as part of this project. This survey will collect information on workforce retention, workforce attraction, succession planning, and basic business information for the cooperative community.

The project aims to create pre-apprenticeships in non-traditional fields such as customer service or accounting that cooperatives across that state can replicate in their businesses. MCDC will use the survey to identify positions with the potential to develop into a pre-apprenticeship program and cooperatives interested in taking on this exciting opportunity to build and grow their future workforce.

Davey and Nicole are partnering with the Department of Labor and Industry and Reach Higher’s Montana Youth Apprenticeship program to develop the curriculum and outreach to high schools. We hope to enroll students in the pre-apprenticeship program in the spring semester and start in the summer or fall of 2022. 
To participate in the workforce survey, please click HERE!
Don't miss this class hosted by Trust Montana
 on community land trusts.
Register HERE.
Just a reminder that it’s time to register for the virtual Montana Partnership to End Childhood Hunger’s Annual Partner Gathering on February 24th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, followed by an optional small group discussion/networking session from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. This is a free event.

Our Director Tracy McIntyre has recorded a quick presentation on the Food Distribution Study conducted in 2020 and the next steps on how MCDC is working on developing stronger and more sustainable food systems in Montana.

To register, click HERE.
For Agenda, click HERE.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY presents the Capital Projects Fund

The Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (Capital Projects Fund) will address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic, especially in rural America, Tribal communities, and low- and moderate-income communities, helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband, needed to access critical services.
You can find more info and the submission portal HERE.
USDA-Rural Development presents the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program
The USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income. By supporting local farmers and ranchers through innovative programs, Rural Development is contributing to a stronger and more resilient Montana food supply. These awards will help expand job opportunities in rural Montana communities and priority may be given to beginning farmers and ranchers, a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative.
USDA-Rural Development also presents the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program
USDA Rural Development is also working to increase competition in agricultural markets and build a more resilient food supply chain and is introducing new programs aimed at building a food system that is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient. The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program supports meat and poultry processing so that Montana’s agricultural producers receive a fair share of the food dollar while advancing equity in this market.

For information on these programs, visit Montana | Rural Development ( or follow the USDA Rural Development Twitter feed (Rural Development - Montana (@RD_Montana) / Twitter) for the most up-to-date information!

Connect MT Broadband Webinars and ARPA Update
The Montana Communications Advisory Commission is responsible for reviewing recommendations for funding communications projects using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The Communications Advisory Commission will review recommendations for projects related to broadband infrastructure. More information can be found below.
For more information please visit the Montana Telecommunications Association website, or Connect MT website.
If you would like us to post your upcoming co-op events or information in the Montana Cooperative Update send event information to: