The Food & Agricultural Development Center in Ronan operates as a division of Lake County Community Development Corporation under Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center.
The center, which includes food processing facilities, serves as a multi-dimensional local, regional and statewide development resource that has influenced changes in the value chain from farm and ranch production, to food innovation processing, to distribution of local food and finally to the consumers' plates
The purpose of the center is to:
- assist in development of food and value-added agricultural business;
- collaborate in statewide efforts to increase Montana's capacity to produce food, farm-derived renewable energy and other value-added agricultural products;
- and enhance local food system development within our local communities.
Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center offers:
- Food product and market testing & development
- Food safety
- Food labeling, packaging development & sourcing
- Processing for farm-to-cafeteria markets
- Food business assistance & co-op development
- Guidance on organic certification
- Food Science Technical Assistance
Contact the center for information related to product development, regulatory compliance, and other assistance in developing new products from farm to market. The center also has information regarding farm-based energy production and other value-added agricultural enterprises.
Jan Tusick, the director of the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan, has a degree in Agricultural Science and more than 30 years of solving problems in food and agriculture enterprise development. In addition to assisting with business and marketing plans, Jan’s areas of expertise include cooperative development, food safety, and farm to institution programs.
The Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center is Montana’s first community-based food processing center, with 13,000 square feet of production space, laboratory, cold storage, and warehouse. "Our facility is unique, in that it gives people the ability to start manufacturing food on a big scale," says Jan. Helping people develop business plans, scale up their recipes, create new labeling, gain access to funding, and take their dreams to the next level is very rewarding. "What I do isn’t work," affirms Tusick. "It’s more of a passion and a lifestyle than a job. In a nutshell, we at Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center are excited about the work we do."