BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A nonprofit in Montana plans to open a slaughterhouse that will kill and process cattle donated for food banks.

The $2.5 million Producer Partnership plant outside Livingston will be able to process 300 animals per month by next year, the Billings Gazette reported.

Ranchers who donate cattle for food banks will have access to the processing plant for their own retail sales.

The Producer Partnership formed last year to help struggling communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership has donated 80,000 pounds (36,000 kilograms) of hamburger in the past year and a goal of 140,000 pounds (64,000 kilograms) a year.

The group has struggled to secure space at slaughterhouses, however, limiting how many donated animals it can accept.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ve been trying to get kill dates at different plants. That proved to be hard to find a kill date in the first place and then we wound up with so many animals donated that we couldn’t find enough dates,” said Mayzie Purviance, Producer Partnership program administrator.

The processing plant will be federally inspected, meaning ranchers who choose to use the facility for direct retail sales will be able to ship meat out of state, Purviance said.