Programs & Services for Businesses

The Montana Department of Agriculture offers grant and loan programs, marketing assistance, and more to support producers and agricultural businesses. MDA also provides assistance, administration and enforcement of Montana ag-related laws and regulations. Browse our business-related programs and services below, and visit a program page for detailed information. To receive updates from MDA business development staff on exciting marketing and sales opportunities for you to consider, submit your business information to the MDA Ag Business Directory.

Beginning Farm & Ranch Loans

  • Tax-exempt bond program designed to assist beginning farmers and ranchers to acquire agricultural property at lower interest rates
  • Funds may be used to purchase agricultural land, agricultural improvements, and depreciable agricultural property
  • There is no minimum loan amount under the program
  • A beginning farmer/rancher must be a first-time producer regardless of the loan purpose
  • The beginning farmer/rancher must have a net worth not to exceed $450,000
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Farmers Markets

  • Find markets throughout Montana with the Farmers Market Directory or by using our interactive map
  • Learn about the valuable role markets play in promoting healthy communities and local economies
  • Federal and state programs that provide funding assistance for Farmers Market activities
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Farmers Markets
  • Publications and resources for those interested in starting a Farmers Market and for current market masters looking for assistance
  • Learn about SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition programs
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Commodity Research & Market Development

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Growth Through Agriculture

  • Grant & Loan Program
  • Strengthens and diversifies Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes
  • Projects should add value to Montana's agricultural products and have the potential to create and/or retain jobs in Montana
  • Projects may potentially be funded in a single application for a total amount of $150,000 in the form of grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000
  • Project activities involve equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services
  • A $1 for $1 match is required for all proposals
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Organic Certification

  • Learn how to be Certified Organic
  • Find application and reporting forms
  • Resources to assist organic businesses, including videos, links and publications
  • The latest national and regional organic news, including market updates
  • Learn about the Organic Advisory Council
  • Connections to organic research
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Noxious Weed Program

  • Resources and assistance for the management of state- and county-listed noxious weeds
  • The Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Program provides up to $75,000 per grant to battle invasive weeds
  • The Noxious Weed Seed-Free Forage program provides inspections and certification of forage products such as hay, pellets, and straw to prevent new infestations
  • Stop aquatic weeds from threatening the ecological integrity of Montana's rivers and lakes
  • Find information about biological weed controls
  • Connect with the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign at www.weedawareness.org
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Hail Insurance

  • The Montana State Hail Insurance Program provides basic hail insurance coverage on any crop grown in Montana
  • The program is self-supporting through a trust and reserve established with premiums paid by participating producers
  • The program works closely with private insurance providers in the state since many producers carry both state and private hail insurance
  • Program staff are dedicated to providing timely, quality service to the producers who are the ultimate owners of this program
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Hay Hotline

  • The Montana Department of Agriculture maintains this list as a service to the Agricultural industry and particularly to those in need of hay and those who have hay to supply
  • Producers may list hay for sale and pasture available
  • Check for pricing on the USDA Montana Weekly Hay Market before you list your forage
  • Listing prices on the Hay Hotline vary or are not listed
  • The department maintains this list and makes it available with the expectation that all buyers and sellers will treat each other in an equitable and lawful manner
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Laboratory Services

  • MDA administers two labs: the State Grain Lab in Great Falls and Analytical Lab at Montana State University in Bozeman
  • The Montana State Grain Laboratory is the only federally-licensed crop quality testing facility in the state
  • Producers have the right to request official analysis at the State Grain Lab to assure unbiased testing for grain and seed quality and grade
  • Grade certificates are available online to allow quick delivery of results
  • The Analytical Lab provides reliable and defendable analytical results for MDA's feed, fertilizer, and pesticide programs, as well as to the public on a fee-for-service basis
State Grain Lab Analytical Lab

Specialty Crop Development Grants

  • Enhances the competitiveness of specialty crops in Montana
  • Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, peas and lentils, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture)
  • Projects must benefit more than one commercial product, organization, or individual
  • Examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, ‘‘buy local’’ programs, and much more
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Marketing Assistance

  • To receive updates from MDA business development staff on exciting marketing and sales opportunities for you to consider, submit your business information to the MDA Ag Business Directory.
  • Assistance with ag-related business development planning, project coordination, legal and regulatory assistance, and other services
  • Programs and staff focused on business start-up and expansion, as well as business recruitment and relocation projects
  • Tap into new markets and connect to industry groups and trade shows
  • Support for international trade efforts
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Food & Agricultural Development Centers

  • The FADC network help Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agricultural and renewable energy products and processes
  • The centers- located in Joliet, Havre, Butte, and Ronan- operate as a statewide network serving community-based businesses throughout Montana
  • The centers support economic development by ensuring that more of the state's food, agricultural and energy dollars circulate in Montana
  • The network provides training, coaching and technical assistance, including product development, regulatory compliance training, food processing, business planning, market research, networking, financing, and more
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Grown in Montana Program

  • We may be famous for Montana beef and grain…but that isn’t all we grow here
  • Today you can find any number of locally grown products to fill your pantry and prepare your meals
  • Grown in Montana, likes its sibling program Made in Montana, provides support and assistance for Montana producers and businesses that sell locally grown Montana products
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Natural Resources

  • MDA develops and implements activities designed to prevent, minimize, and monitor the effects of pesticides on environmentally sensitive areas and resources, such as groundwater and endangered species
  • MDA also implements a Pesticide Container Recycling Program, a Pesticide Waste Disposal Program, and cooperates with allied state and federal regulatory agencies in the promotion and operation of environmental programs
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MTPlants Online Services

  • The Montana Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the launch of our new online database, MTPlants
  • As of May 2016, MTPlants is enabled for Feed License and Product Registration, Seed License and Assessment, and Pesticide Product Registration programs
  • By November 2016, we will be adding Fertilizer Licensing and Product Registration, and Pesticide Licensing
  • Industry users can conduct business online, such as renewing and printing licenses, reporting assessments, and paying for services
  • You can pay by credit card, debit card or eCheck and a receipt will be emailed to you
  • You will be able to print your license(s) and product renewals after successful completion of the payment process and anytime throughout the year
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Rural Assistance Loans

  • Provides loans to producers with modest financial investments in agriculture
  • Loans are available to persons who are unable to qualify for financing from commercial lenders. However, the activity for which the loan is requested and the financial position of the applicant must show a positive cash flow and net worth
  • The total value of an applicant's net worth, including those of spouse and minor children, cannot exceed $450,000
  • The maximum loan amount is $75,000 per individual
  • Loans are made up to 80% of the value of the collateral used to secure the loan
  • Funds may be used to finance agricultural property, improvements, annual operating expenses, and agricultural land
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