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American Prairie Reserve Donates Bison Meat to MT Food Bank Network

American Prairie Reserve's donation of bison meat to the Montana Food Bank Network is coming at time when some meat processors are closed due to COVID-19 (Mike Quist Kautz/APR)
American Prairie Reserve's donation of bison meat to the Montana Food Bank Network is coming at time when some meat processors are closed due to COVID-19 (Mike Quist Kautz/APR)
May 4, 2020

HELENA, Mont. -- The American Prairie Reserve (APR) is donating about 4,000 pounds of harvested bison meat to the Montana Food Bank Network.

The donation will amount to more than 12,000 meals' worth of bison meat and will help serve 165 pantries and other partners of the network.

Need for the meat is critical right now, with meat processors across the country closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Montana Food Bank Network CEO Gayle Carlson says deliveries for many of the network's food resources have been delayed -- some until June -- making this donation especially important.

"It's there and it's ready for the agencies to get and distribute right now so we appreciate that kind of immediacy right now," she states.

Carlson says the network received the meat two weeks ago and will be able to get it out this week. She says there's been a dramatic increase in visits to the network's partners. Distribution ticked up to 1.6 million meals last month -- up from 1 million in March 2019.

Alison Fox, CEO of American Prairie Reserve, says her Montana-based organization donates bison harvests to the food bank network each year, but increased it this year to meet the higher need.

"Bison harvesting is a responsible management tool that helps us maintain both the sustainability and the health of our herd, and we are happy to make some of these harvests available to Montanans across the state through this donation to the Montana Food Bank Network," she states.

Fox says APR also donates bison to conservation herds, such as within tribal organizations. The reserve hosts more than 800 bison.

Disclosure: American Prairie Reserve contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Public Lands/Wilderness, Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT