When you see the Made in Montana decal on an item, you know you’re receiving a one-of-a-kind piece of Treasure State. And here at Hi-Country Snack Foods in Lincoln, they sell not just Made in Montana products, but the entire Montana lifestyle to people across the country.
Hi-Country snacks have been found in the backpacks of hunters and hikers across the country since 1976. But recently, the HWY-200-based company has shifted its focus to making its products from more Montana-born, bred, and produced beef.
“But that aside, Montana beef in particular is great because it’s never frozen, it’s fresh and it just makes for a great product. Great product,” said Chief Operations Officer Steve Fehrs. “Montana Beef aligns well with what we talked about earlier in terms of supporting Montana businesses in general. So what’s good for Hi-Country should be good for Montana’s businesses and good for Montana. Montana is selling, frankly Montana is selling. Montana is a little bit unique. I think when people come here they are specifically looking for lifestyle items to buy and Made in Montana items.
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Selling this lifestyle goes beyond beef.
“So if we can support Montana businesses by buying their beef, buying their lentils, jams and jellies, you name it,” Fehrs added. “Whatever we can do to support Montana’s businesses.
“We’ve all worked hard to get everything where it is,” said Hi-Country Trading Post Manager Rea Fallis. “We’ve worked hard to add value to everything and make sure Montanans come first.”
And those efforts are getting the attention they deserve, as Hi-Country has won the Montana Manufacturing Association’s 2022 Value Add AG of the Year award.
“We had to be nominated for this award,” Fehrs told MTN. “The governor lent them. It is a great honor to be recognized as a great Montana company by the Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Montana Manufacturers Association.”
And they’re not done yet – with further improvements in sight.
“Our jerky auto-fill line we looked at earlier should be able to process four times the product in one day,” said Fehrs. “Packaging four times the product in one day than we would normally be able to do by hand packing. So what this will allow us at Lincoln, Montana, is to increase our throughput and increase our throughput through the plant. That means we can raise wages. We can keep increasing wages to create good paying jobs here in Lincoln, Montana.”
Montans helping Montans, a pretty good representation of what the Montana lifestyle is.