Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky

About The Department


Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky.
- Montana Department of Agriculture Mission

Programs & Background

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) operates more than 30 programs, many funded entirely through user fees. These include regulatory programs that protect producers, consumers and the environment, as well as development and marketing programs to foster growth in Montana agriculture.

The Director's Office also serves as an advocate for Montana agriculture in national and international forums and works to make the department's programs accessible to the public. We encourage you to explore this site to learn more about what MDA offers (the Topics page is a great place to get started), or contact the department for more information.

Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture Mike Foster is the Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.

"Montana farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the world, and I’m excited to be a strong voice for these Montanans at the Department of Agriculture."

Prior to joining the department, Mike was the state executive director of the Montana USDA Farm Service Agency, a job he was appointed to in 2018 by the Trump administration.

The Townsend native was a high school teacher and coach, and a legislator in the state House and Senate in the 1990s, where he was majority whip. He was also chief policy adviser to former Republican Gov. Judy Martz.

Before the FSA job, Foster worked as regional director of advocacy for St. Vincent Healthcare.

At the FSA, Foster "helped Montana producers overcome difficult challenges such as drought, wildfires, excessive and ill-timed moisture, terrible blizzards, low prices, trade barriers and a pandemic.”

Foster is a graduate of Western Montana College, where he got a degree in secondary education, and Carroll College, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration. He went on to earn a master's in public administration from the University of Montana.

Agricultural Development
The Agricultural Development Division is responsible for administering programs that promote and enhance Montana agriculture. Within the division are four bureaus: the Rural Development Bureau, the Wheat and Barley Bureau, the Agricultural Marketing and Business Development Bureau, and the Montana State Grain Laboratory Bureau.

Agricultural Sciences
The Agricultural Sciences Division provides agricultural, public and environmental services and protection through administration of the Montana laws and rules. Cooperative agreements with the USDA, Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency provide services and jurisdiction in areas of interstate and international movement of plant materials, produce and feed; enforcement of FDA rules to prevent transmission of BSE disease in cattle; and the regulation of pesticide sales, use and production in Montana.

Central Services
The Central Services Division provides accounting, budgeting, computer programming, fiscal management, human resources, payroll and benefits, public information, purchasing, property control, records management, systems analysis, training, website administration and legal support to all programs within the department.