“ Agriculture is Montana's No. 1 industry, and changes are occurring that bring new opportunities and challenges for Montana producers and rural communities. As a longtime student of economics and change in agriculture, my goal is to work hard with family farmers and ranchers, entrepreneurs and agriculture-related industries to take advantage of the opportunities while minimizing the impacts of changes that adversely affect our industry.
Nearly three-fourths of cash receipts to Montana producers come from two sources, wheat and livestock, according to data from the Montana field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. These are solid agricultural sectors, and demand for the commodities is increasing worldwide. It would be even better, however, if we could keep more of the value of beef and wheat in Montana, rather than losing so much of it to high transportation costs and food processors located outside our borders.
Entrepreneurs are leading the way to produce more food items such as flour, pasta, baked goods, organic products and Montana-branded beef within our state. Bio-products offer exciting possibilities and the prospect of new crop diversification. Clustering new development to, for example, feed oilseed or ethanol byproducts at nearby feedlots is just one idea that holds great potential in Montana.
To present your ideas or get additional information, please contact me or any member of the Montana Department of Agriculture team.”
Ron de Yong - Director, MDA