By Tim Leeds
The Montana Cooperative Development Center will celebrate the award of a $291,652 grant with an awards ceremony Tuesday.
The award is the second large grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program. Last year Rural Development gave the center $299,400 in a joint grant with the Mission Mountain Cooperative Development Center in Ronan.
State Sen. Greg Jergeson pushed a five-year funding bill through the Legislature several years ago. The funding, $65,000 a year, expires this year. Future state funding will be up to the 2003 Legislature.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Donaldson Commons on the Montana State University-Northern campus. Among those attending will be: MSU-N Chancellor Alex Capdeville; Tim Ryan, state director of USDA Rural Development; Mark Duncan, energy and agriculture officer with the governor's office; Jergeson; and representatives of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and U.S. Rep Denny Rehberg.
The co-op development center, a state agency hosted by the university, was established in 1999. Its goals are to promote the development of new cooperatives and the improvement of existing ones, promote cooperative use for rural development, assist in using technology in co-ops, and train individuals to operate or manage co-ops.