Food & Ag Development Center
The mission of the Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center is to foster agricultural growth, support local farmers, and promote food security to build resilient communities. At the core of our mission is the belief that a thriving agricultural sector is a foundation for a prosperous future. The Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center implements strategic initiatives to enhance farming practices, promote value-added products, and create avenues for economic diversification. Through collaboration with local stakeholders, educational institutions, and industry partners, we strive to empower farmers and agribusinesses with the knowledge and resources they need to flourish.
Through a partnership with Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation, a CRDC, and EDD located in Glendive, MT, serving southeastern Montana, the Eastern Montana FADC offers services to residents in a total of 11 eastern Montana counties: Carter, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Roosevelt, Richland, Sheridan, Valley, and Wibaux counties including the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Our commitment extends beyond the fields and into the heart of Eastern Montana’s communities. By bridging the gap between producers and consumers, we contribute to the vibrancy of local economies and ensure access to fresh, locally sourced food. From innovative agricultural practices to community engagement programs, the Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center is dedicated to cultivating a resilient and sustainable future for the region.
Below is a list of training, coaching, and technical assistance available through the Eastern Montana FADC:
Product development, testing and analysis
Access to financing
Education on industry dynamics and technologies
Regulatory compliance training
Business planning and development
Grant writing and editing assistance
State Grants & Loans
Federal Grants & Loans
Montana Department of Agriculture
FADC Training Recordings
FADC Client Successes
Value- Added Producer Grant (VAPG): 2023 Application closed.
Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG): 2023 Application closed.
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants:
Quarterly deadlines. September 30 & December 31, 2023. March 31, June 30, & September 30, 2024.
Business Acceleration Program (BAP): Currently closed. Will reopen in the fall.
Marketing Development Program (MAP): Currently closed. Will reopen in the fall.
Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program: 2023 Application to open in the fall.
For more information, please contact our FADC Director
NORTHEASTERN MONTANA BEEF TO SCHOOL PROJECT
This project, funded by Save the Children Fund, is a collaborative effort between Montana State University, Montana Team Nutrition, the Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center, and the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO). This project aims to support connections between schools and local beef producers to increase the procurement of local meats by schools. Many school Food Service Directors do not have time to research and find local producers, and producers are unaware of what cuts and pounds of meat are easiest for school meal preparation. In response to these needs, the Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center is working with AERO to support an Abundant Montana Local Food Coordinator for Northeast Montana to liaise with ranchers and schools to support new connections and procurement opportunities. Thanks to funding made available through the Save the Children Fund received by Great Northern Development Corporation, schools can receive $440 to purchase local beef for their students from the regional producers listed in this handout.
At this time, schools located in the following counties are eligible for this grant: Valley, Roosevelt, McCone, Daniels, Garfield, and Sheridan.
Review the Beef to School Project Guide here and get connected with local producers for all your beef needs!
REGIONAL FOOD & AG STUDIES
Various feasibility and economic studies have been conducted over the past years that have great impact on our region. We believe public access to these studies helps drive economic growth by educating communities on current activities and future opportunities for growth.
Click the links below to view each report:
WHAT IS VALUE-ADDED AGRICULTURE?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business Development defines value-added products as follows: a change in physical state or form of the product, the production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as demonstrated in a business plan, and the physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product. As a result of the change in physical state or the manner in which the agricultural commodity or product is produced and segregated, the customer base for the commodity or product is expanded and a greater portion of revenue derived from the marketing, processing or physical segregation is made available to the producer of the commodity or product. Value added is the process and development of a differentiated, high value, consumer oriented products and in the content of the FADC program based upon a Montana produced or harvested agricultural raw goods, including farm-derived renewable energy. Value added agricultural products create additional avenues to compete nationally and at margins that help ensure profitability.
Farmer’s markets play a valuable role in promoting healthy communities in Montana. While shoppers enjoy the freshness and taste of locally grown foods, and vendors capture more of the value of their products from direct sales to their customers, money is circulated through the local economy. If you are interested in starting a market, refer to Starting a Farmers’ Market in Montana, a guidebook from NCAT, AERO, and USDA. You can learn more at https://dphhs.mt.gov/assets/publichealth/FCS/CottageFood/FarmersMarketGuidlines.pdf
WHAT IS AGRITOURISM?
Agritourism is a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production or agricultural processing with tourism in order to attract visitors to a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for purposes of entertaining or educating the visitors. In 2017, House Bill 342 was passed into law which added agritourism to the list of Montana Recreational Activities. Agritourism connects farms to communities. Examples of agritourism activities include farm and business tours, farm-to-table dinners, farm stays, workshops, and special events such as weddings. Read more about current Montana agritourism in the Agritourism Manual.