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What is Farm to School?

Farm to School enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Farm to school implementation differs by location but always includes one or more of the following core elements: 

Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test
Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition
School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
 

National Farm to School Network

The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. The mission of the National Farm to School Network is to increase access to local food and nutrition education to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is a National Farm to School Network Montana Supporting Partner.

Montana Farm to School Network

Farm to school is rapidly growing in Montana despite a short growing season and long distances between towns. Through partnerships, networking, and a strong dose of Montana-style resourcefulness, schools throughout the state are overcoming barriers to serve local foods, provide farm to school education, and grow school gardens. The state is home to many farm to school partnerships and programs, including:

The Montana Farm to School Leadership Team works through partnerships across the state to build farm to school initiatives that help kids eat healthy, connect kids with agriculture and nutrition through education, support Montana farmers and food producers, foster economic vitality, and strengthen communities. This team is formed of agencies and organizations with statewide focus and influence that are key to the success of farm to school in Montana. The Montana Department of Agriculture is a member of the Montana Farm to School Leadership Team.

Montana is still home to more cattle than people, so it makes sense that schools throughout Montana are serving local beef in their school meals. The Montana Beef School Coalition works together to help schools serve Montana beef in school meals. The coalition studies successful programs and in 2016 published the Montana Beef to School Case Study Report. 

The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana schools and communities. Each month, participating K-12 schools and after school programs (early care and education programs will be included soon) focus on promoting one locally grown item (e.g., winter squash) by serving it in at least one meal or snack, offering taste tests to students, and doing educational lessons and activities.

Montana Farm to School Summit

August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT

Learn and share how Montana schools and programs are cultivating success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, and nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inspiration and skill building. The conference will feature national and Montana farm to school champions who will share their stories and experiences. The summit will feature Montana Harvest of the Month successes and resources.  

Register for the Montana Farm to School SummitClick here to view the agenda

Click here to register

Click here to view the Farm to School Summit website


Lentils: Montana Harvest of the Month

Montana Ag News

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

MT Dept. of Agriculture marketing team is scheduling consultations with businesses for the week of April 19th

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

The Montana Department of Agriculture's marketing team is looking forward to connecting with Montana food and ag businesses as they schedule virtual marketing consultations for the week of April 19th. Our marketing officers are taking this opportunity to learn more about different companies across the state and explore how the department can help them reach their goals. 

If you are interested in setting up a virtual marketing consultation, please contact Marty Earnheart at (406) 444-9126 or mearnheart@mt.gov

Click here to learn more about the Agricultural Marketing & Business Development Bureau at Montana Department of Agriculture. 

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - April 21, 2021

Virtual MT Pulse Crop Committee Meeting April 21, 2021

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - April 21, 2021

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, April 21st beginning at 3:00 p.m. 

To receive Zoom meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@mt.gov

Click here to learn more about the MT Pulse Crop Committee. 

Early Bird Registration for Montana Farm to School Summit Open Until May 31st

The Montana Farm to School Summit "Digging Deeper" will be held August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT

Early Bird Registration for Montana Farm to School Summit Open Until May 31st

The Montana Farm to School Summit "Digging Deeper" will take place August 11 - 12, 2021 in Helena, MT. 

Attendees will learn and share hwo Montana school programs are cultivating success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Workshops, field trips, and networking opportunities will provide inpsiration and skill building for all. The conference will feature national and Montana farm to school champions and Harvest of the Month successes and resources.

Discounted early bird registration is open until May 31st. Click here to register.

Scholarship applications are now open until May 6th. Click here to apply. 

Click here to visit the MT Farm to School Summit website.

 

Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council is Recruiting for Open Positions

Applications and nominations due May 1, 2021

Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council is Recruiting for Open Positions

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is currently recruiting for open positions on its Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC). The following council terms expire June 30, 2021:

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

Click here to learn more about the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council and apply. 

Documents to download

Hail Insurance Available Through Montana Department of Agriculture

State policies available for purchase until August 15, 2021

Hail Insurance Available Through Montana Department of Agriculture

Applications for the State Hail Insurance Program are now available through the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA).

Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land. Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. A detailed list of rates by county and crop can be found online by visiting the MDA website. State policies are available for purchase until August 15, 2021.

Producers who previously purchased state hail insurance will receive applications in the mail. Application forms are also available online or by calling the MDA office. Staff are available to process policies, file claims, and help answer any questions producers may have regarding coverage options. Completed forms can be emailed, mailed, faxed, or used as a reference when contacting the office by phone.

Loss claims are due to the office by October 1, 2021, and must be submitted within two weeks of the hail damage occurrence. Forms are available online or by request.

Marty Earnheart
Marketing Officer

Phone : (406) 444-2402
E-mail : MEarnheart@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9442