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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Winnett ACES of Petroleum County

March 15, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Winnett ACES of Petroleum County with his Spirit of Montana commendation for the group’s innovative approach to bolstering its community’s future.

Launched in 2016, Winnett ACES aims to strengthen its community through inventive programs so that future generations will live, work, and raise their families there.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record follows:


Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the members of Winnett ACES for leading efforts to encourage economic growth, revitalize their community, and protect its future.

Concerned about the decreasing population of rural America, Winnett ACES (Agricultural and Community Enhancement and Sustainability) formed in 2016 to strengthen its community so that future generations will live, work, and raise their families there.

The group’s first program to take off was Winnett Beef in the School, which serves locally-raised beef to the local K-12 school system. Led by local producer Charlie Ahlgren, area ranchers made a three-year commitment to donate beef, about four cows per year, to the program. Other volunteers helped cut and deliver the fresh product. Within three months, the program had successfully launched, saving money for the schools to use on other education priorities.

Winnett ACES is also leading a revitalization project to build a community center. Land has been donated, and grant money awarded to design the center, which will accommodate 300 people.

Another project, known as grass banking, is underway after a feasibility study produced the program’s guidelines. Local ranchers and landowners lease their lands for summer grazing in exchange for conservation work. Seven individuals will each graze 100 or more cattle when the program launches this spring.

These projects are a few of the inventive approaches Winnett ACES is taking to strengthen its community.

Madam Speaker, for their innovative efforts to bolster their community’s future, I recognize the members of Winnett ACES for their spirit of Montana.