Montana Department of Agriculture logo

Organic News

Gov. Bullock Signs Bills Advancing Montana’s Pulse Industry

Montana Leads Nation in Pulse Production

Gov. Bullock Signs Bills Advancing Montana’s Pulse Industry
Helena, Mont. – As Montana cements its status as the nation’s leader in pulse production, a duo of bills signed recently by Governor Bullock aim to advance the burgeoning sector of Montana’s ag economy. HB 614 and SB 285 will incentivize growth in pulse-processing infrastructure throughout the state and give more structure to the state’s pulse checkoff program. Montana leads the nation in pulse production, with over 1 million acres planted in 2016. Pulses (peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils) are a versatile crop that promote biodiversity, improve soil health and generate income from local and global markets.

Rodale Institute Veteran Farmer Training Program accepting applications

This program is a tailored, flexible, two-to-four month training in organic farming, that includes a stipend and housing allowance.

Rodale Institute Veteran Farmer Training Program accepting applications
The Rodale Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, is now accepting application for their Veteran Farmer Training Program. Through the Veteran Farmer Training Program, Rodale Institute helps provide livelihoods to our returning veterans.

Documents to download

2017 Montana Farmers Market Guide Available Online

Over 70 markets listed statewide

2017 Montana Farmers Market Guide Available Online

Helena, Mont. – As Montana thaws out and Spring comes into full swing, farmers and ranchers are offering fresh, local produce, meats, and value-added foods at Farmers Markets throughout the state. Over 70 Farmers Markets are registered with the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) for the 2017 season and a directory is available online at farmersmarkets.mt.gov. Montana Farmers Markets are community events that are well attended by locals and tourists alike, as many markets host food trucks, activities for kids and families, and craft vendors in addition to local agriculture stands.

Documents to download

 

MDA Organic Certification Program
Phone : (406) 444-7804
E-mail : agrorganic@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9466
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) offers resources to make organic certification more accessible, affordable, and attainable. These resources help farms and businesses understand the USDA organic standards, certification process, and inspections in more depth. To receive regular updates from the USDA NOP, subscribe to the USDA Organic Insider.

USDA Market News provides price, volume, and other related information for commodities and products that have been grown, processed and certified to USDA’s National Organic Program standards.

New applicants can apply at anytime, but must be 45 days before harvest, and renewal applications are due on the following dates:

  • Producer Applications are due March 15th
  • Producer Sales Reports are due March 15th
  • Handler Applications are due September 15th
  • Handler Sales Reports are due September 15th

Download applications and reporting forms and find information on additional due dates on the Organic Program Forms page.

Find a specific certified organic farm or business, or search for an operation with specific characteristics at the USDA Organic INTEGRITY Database.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced at the end of 2015 that they will extend the organic farmer exemption from conventional commodity checkoffs to ALL organic farmers, effective February 29, 2016. Organic farmers are no longer required to pay into conventional checkoff promotion programs that promote conventional products directly competing with their organic products.

For more information:

 

Organic Program Goals

  1. Provide professional, efficient and objective organic certification services to producers and handlers.
  2. Facilitate the growth and success of organic agriculture in Montana.
  3. Protect consumers by monitoring and enforcing compliance with state and federal laws governing organic production, handling and product labeling.

The program is an accredited USDA certifier of organic producers and handlers under the USDA National Organic Program.

The program facilitates international marketing of organic products with Canada, the European Union, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Switzerland.

Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council

The eight-member Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Committee advises the department on the operation of the state's Organic Certification Program. Under Montana administrative rules, the department director serves on the committee, along with certified organic producers, a certified organic handler, and a consumer representative.

Board Members

Name City Phone Email Term End Qualifications
Ben Thomas, Director Helena (406) 444-3156 agr@mt.gov   Agriculture Director, Statutory Appointment
Allison Harmon Bozeman (406) 994-4133 harmon@montana.edu 8/19/2018 Consumer
Matt Johnson Hinsdale (406) 648-5407 jriorganic@gmail.com 8/19/2018 Producer
Ty O'Connor Broadus (406) 554-3412 oconnorranch@yahoo.com 8/19/2017 Producer/Livestock
Catherine Odden Dutton (406) 463-2410 mocao2410@gmail.com 8/19/2017 At-Large Representative
Karl Sutton Polson (406) 883-0974 freshrootsorganicfarm@gmail.com 8/19/2018 Producer
Mark Smith Lavina (406) 667-2332 mark@aspen-island-ranch.com 8/19/2018 Livestock/Producer
Sam Schmidt Great Falls (800) 548-8554 sam@montanamilling.com 8/19/2019 Handler

Resources

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) offers resources to make organic certification more accessible, affordable, and attainable. These resources help farms and businesses understand the USDA organic standards, certification process, and inspections in more depth. To receive regular updates from the USDA NOP, subscribe to the USDA Organic Insider.

Webinars

Webinars on the latest in organic farming practices and research are available through eXtension.org, a part of the cooperative university extension system.

Online Resources

Education

Check back, more organic education information coming soon! Please contact the MDA Organic Program for information or assistance.