On August 1, 2019, Jason and LaRynn Schlange purchased and began operating Hamilton Packing Company. The business was originally established in 1969. Hamilton Pack is the only USDA meat processing facility in Ravalli County. The previous owners had been trying to sell the business for five years with no takers. When the Schlange’s purchased the business they solved a local and regional meat processing crisis. They also breathed new life into a tired business. In less than one year’s time, the Schlange’s have turned Hamilton Packing Company in to a thriving hub for processing animals, retail sales, wholesale accounts, and have also added their own custom recipes of ready to cook products. Hamilton Pack adds value to Montana’s agriculture products through meat processing, by the purchase of meat for their own Montana Made product line, and by providing a place for other meat producers to market their products. Hamilton Packing Company has their own line of Montana Territory products which includes jerky and smoked sausages, all using Montana beef, buffalo, and pork.
Mr. Schlange worked in the meat processing industry for 19-years in Northern California before purchasing the business in the Bitterroot. He worked his way up in the CA business from beginner to part owner. The sale of his portion of the CA business enabled the purchase of Hamilton Pack.
RCEDA/MWBC started working with the new owners in October of 2019. They had just purchased the business and utilized a variety of technical assistance from RCEDA. Julie helped identify sources of capital to finance business expansion including the MT Dept. of Agriculture’s Growth Through Ag Program. John helped LaRynn and Jason set up their bookkeeping system in QuickBooks so that they could produce financial statements. This made it possible for the Schlange’s to produce financial projections needed to update and refine their business plan. In March the Schlange’s were approved for a $46,000 GTA grant to purchase equipment for expanded meat production. When the Schlange’s purchased the company they had 8 full-time employees. They currently have 12. The Schlange’s continue to follow their business plan, planning large increases in production to keep up with the new demand.