Montana Department of Agriculture logo

The Montana Food and Agricultural Development Center (FADC) Network logo.

The Montana Food and Agricultural Development Center (FADC) Network helps Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agricultural and renewable energy products and processes, creating wealth and jobs in our communities and on our farms and ranches. The centers - located in Joliet, Havre, Great Falls, 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, testing and analysis
  • Regulatory compliance training
  • Food processing
  • Business planning and development
  • Market research
  • Business networking
  • Access to financing
  • Cooperative development
  • Education on industry dynamics and technologies


This center, based in Havre, is operated by Bear Paw Development Corporation and focuses on renewable energy in partnership with Montana State University-Northern.

Successful projects include food processing, biofuels and biolubricants, timber processing, wind energy, high-value crop production, greenhouse construction, and other value-added industries.

Bear Paw Development Corporation is committed to making northern Montana a better place to raise a family and make a living by focusing our resources on business financing, entrepreneurial training, infrastructure development and community planning.

Contact the center for information related to product development, regulatory compliance, and other assistance in developing new products from farm to market, as well as information on farm-based energy production and other value-added agricultural enterprises.

Michael Peter of the Bear Paw FADC in Havre, Montana.

Michael Peter

Michael Peter is a native of Circle and comes from a farm and ranch family. Michael graduated in May 2018 from MSU-Northern with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Operations and an Associate’s Degree in Business. He previously worked at the Northern Ag Research Center in Hill County and was the Farm Manager at Schutter Seed Farm in Manhattan. Michael also served as President of the Collegiate Stockgrowers Club while a student at MSUN.

This food and agricultural development center, based in Joliet, is operated by Beartooth Resource Conservation & Development Area. They offer assistance with value-added businesses including farm-derived energy and food projects and efficiency testing of seedstock cattle.

Established in 1969, the Beartooth RC&D serves as a regional entity for the cooperative efforts of five counties in Southcentral Montana in rural and economic development. Leadership is composed of elected officials and community leaders from the counties, incorporated towns and cities, conservation districts and tribal reservations in the region.

Joel Bertolino of the Beartooth FADC in Joliet, Montana.

Joel Bertolino

Meet Joel Bertolino, a fourth-generation Montanan who grew up on a 'typical Montana ranch' just south of Roberts. He has continued his family’s tradition of agriculture by working for the USDA Farm Service Agency for seven years, then becoming director of the Food and Agriculture Development Center at Beartooth Resource Conservation & Development in 2009. Joel specializes in the business, marketing, and financial aspects of running a business. With his background in production agriculture, he is able to assist businesses in a variety of ways. He has a solid knowledge of the tools and opportunities available to start-ups, as well as expanding businesses.

Joel enjoys working with many diverse and innovative ag-related industries. 'It’s never the same. Every project is different and we all learn a lot.' Joel encourages his clients to ask him for help regardless of their situation. 'Our Food and Ag Development Center network has a lot of knowledge and resources at their disposal. If I don’t have the answer to a client’s question, I’ll do the research and find the answer.'

This center, based in Great Falls, focuses on agri-processing and bringing new jobs to the state through the recruitment and expansion of businesses that add value to the agricultural products grown in Montana. Incorporated in 1992, the organization is a public-private partnership whose mission is to lead Great Falls and its 13-county trade area in economic development efforts to promote growth, diversification, and the creation of high wage jobs.



Great Falls Development Authority
Barnett G. Sporkin-Morrison
PO Box 949
300 Central Ave Suite 406
Great Falls, MT 59401

Phone: 406.750.3285 E-mail:

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 of the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan, Montana.

Jan Tusick

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.'

Food Safety Trainings

Click here for upcoming trainings on the Food Safety page, or email

Montana Resources

Business Resources

Food and Bioenergy

Food Regulations and Entrepreneurship

Food Security Resources

  • FoodSecurity.Org: A good source of food policy information provided by the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC), a non-profit organization that provides resources to help build strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.

The Montana Food Infrastructure Map was an interactive, online map that enabled Montana’s local food system stakeholders to understand and prioritize the gaps in our regional and statewide food value chains, and to identify the opportunities for filling those gaps. This map was the product of a three-year, statewide collaborative project. Project partners included: Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana State University, Montana Farmers Union, Grow Montana, AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization), Lake County Community Development Corporation’s Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, Montana State Library’s Geographic Information Center, and Montana USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

At this time, the Montana Department of Agriculture is no longer maintaining this resource. However, the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) has developed a resource called the Abundant Montana Directory that contains similar information. Please visit the AERO site to learn more about food infrastructure and agritourism in Montana.



Visit the
Abundant Montana Directory
& Interactive Map

Abundant Montana is a connection to the land, to our neighbors, and to those committed to using locally-grown food in their businesses. How our food is produced and the distance it travels determines the prosperity of our communities and the health of our landscapes.

Contact FADCs in Montana

Bear Paw Center, Havre: 406.265.9226

Beartooth Center, Joliet: 406.962.3914

Great Falls Development Center: 406.750.3285

Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center: 406.676.5901, ext. 111

Contact the FADC Network

Phone : (406) 444-0134
E-mail :
Fax : (406) 444-9442
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

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USDA, USTR Seek New Members for Trade Advisory Committees

Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on March 1, 2019

USDA, USTR Seek New Members for Trade Advisory Committees

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Nominations received by Friday, March 1, 2019, will be considered for the next round of appointments.

Recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC)

Applications due by April 12, 2019

Recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC)

The Montana Department of Agriculture is recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC). Applications are due by April 12, 2019.

Members of the NWMAC provide guidance to the Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Program, which assists Montana counties, local and tribal communities, researchers and educators in efforts to combat noxious weeds. Reviewing grant applications requires a considerable amount of time in addition to attending the grant hearings which typically last five days. After the Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant hearings, held annually in March, the NWMAC recommends and presents funding counsel to the Director for approval.

Open Positions:

  • Livestock Production Representative
  • Herbicide Dealer or Applicator
  • Biological Research and Control Interests Representative
  • Western County Weed District Representative
  • Agriculture Crop Production Representative

Please apply and submit a letter of interest to the Montana Department of Agriculture, Attn: Ben Thomas, PO Box 200201, Helena, MT, 59620-0201;

Click here to download the Application Form.

Industrial Hemp Program Frequently Asked Questions

Food & Ag Development Center Forms & Files

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