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02 June 2021
USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of up to $4 million for grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production is accepting proposals for planning and innovation projects, and these grants are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture. 
USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2021. A pre-recorded webinar will provide an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. The webinar will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.   

02 June 2021
Montana Farm to School Summit "Digging Deeper" in Helena, MT August 11 - 12, 2021

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

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

Anyone interested in farm to school activities is encouraged to attend! 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.

Click here to view the summit agenda and here to learn more about the keynote speaker, Mariah Gladstone, owner of Indigikitchen. 

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

 

01 June 2021
Montana Approves Use of Hemp in Commercial Animal Feed

Montana Approves Use of Hemp in Commercial Animal Feed

As established in House Bill 396 signed during the 2021 legislative session, hemp and substances derived from hemp are now approved for use in commercial feed for pets, specialty pets, and horses in Montana, so long as they do not contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The Montana Department of Agriculture will regulate these new parameters for feed, feed ingredients of hemp, and substances derived from hemp in accordance with Montana’s Commercial Feeds Act and the Hemp and Cannabidiol Policy for Use in Animal Feed that is now available on the MDA website. Because the use of hemp or hemp-derived products in animal feed or feed supplements is not yet approved at the federal level, there are some important stipulations to abide by.

Currently, hemp and substances derived from hemp are not yet generally recognized as safe (GRAS) or approved as food additives under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). This means that livestock fed hemp in Montana cannot enter interstate or intrastate commerce as the animals and meat are considered adulterated under the FD&C.

In addition to pets and specialty pets, horses are the only livestock species approved for hemp in animal feed. Approval for hemp in animal feed for other livestock, such as cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry, is contingent on approval from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

No CBD products, including CBD oil and industrial hemp seed oil containing CBD are allowed in pet, specialty pet, and horse feed in Montana. Only hemp or substances derived from cannabis with no greater than 0.3% THC, including but not limited to hemp seed, hemp seed meal, and hemp seed oil are permitted for use following the signing of HB 396.

27 May 2021
Gov. Gianforte Urges DOJ to Continue Investigation into Anti-Competitive Practices in Meatpacking Industry

Gov. Gianforte Urges DOJ to Continue Investigation into Anti-Competitive Practices in Meatpacking Industry

In a joint-letter with governors from South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Iowa, Governor Greg Gianforte today urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue their investigation into serious allegations of anticompetitive behavior in the meatpacking industry.

“Decades of consolidation in meatpacking has significantly limited the options that producers have to market their cattle and has created a situation where one segment of the beef industry has near total control over the entire market,” Governor Gianforte and other governors wrote to U.S. Attorney General Garland. “We urge you to continue to investigate this matter with the urgency it calls for.”

In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the nation’s four largest meatpackers whose anticompetitive behavior is threatening Montana cattle producers.

Governor Gianforte was joined in signing the letter by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Read the letter here.

06 May 2021
Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

As people across the state gear up to plant their gardens this spring, the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding growers about the importance of buying and planting seeds from licensed seed dealers to protect against invasive species and plant diseases.

“Spring is such an exciting time for agriculture in Montana, from our farmers and ranchers out in the field to the folks planting gardens in their backyard,” said Director Mike Foster. “Along with this excitement comes a responsibility to look after our state by purchasing seeds from trustworthy sources. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Department to ensure that your seeds are safe before planting them.”

Last year, residents in all 50 states received unsolicited “mystery seeds” through the mail that originated in China causing federal and state agencies to urge recipients not to plant them, and to contact their state regulatory officials to submit them for testing or dispose of them instead. Close to 150 seed packages were received in Montana and sent to USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) for testing. A mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species were discovered and fortunately determined not to be severely hazardous. In this case, the unsolicited seeds appear to have been sent as part of a brushing scam designed to boost e-commerce rankings for companies by shipping items to unknowing individuals and then creating false profiles and fabricated positive reviews.

Whether it be as part of a brushing scam or otherwise, planting unknown or unsolicited seeds can introduce harmful pests and/or diseases. To ensure your seeds are safe, please:

  • check to confirm the seed species information is printed on the seed package
  • do not plant any seeds of unknown species or origin
  •  verify seed suppliers are licensed in MT at mtplants.mt.gov or call MDA at (406) 444-3144.

The Federal Seed Act and Montana Seed Laws require seed sellers and distributors to plainly label their packages. The MDA Seed Program ensures that seeds offered for sale in Montana are truthfully labeled for identity, purity, and viability. To learn more, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture’s web page at agr.mt.gov/SeedProgram.

06 May 2021
Made in Montana Exhibitor Registration Opens May 19th

Made in Montana Exhibitor Registration Opens May 19th

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for food and gifts will take place in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds on September 10 - 11th, 2021--all Grown in Montana members are encouraged to apply!

On Friday, September 10th, exhibitors will have the opportuntity to connect with wholesale buyers. Saturday, September 11th, the public is invited to attend and exhibitors will sell directly to consumers at retail prices. 

Exhibitor registration opens up on May 19th. Click here to learn more and apply to participate as an exhibitor. 

22 April 2021
Registration Open for Free "Communicating for the Farm" Webinar Series

Registration Open for Free "Communicating for the Farm" Webinar Series

Montana State University Extension Pondera County and Purdue Extension – Bartholomew County are teaming up to provide a webinar series dedicated to helping agricultural producers improve their agriculture communication skills. Adriane Good, from MSU Extension, and Cora Carter, from Purdue Extension, noticed that many farmers and ranchers want to engage with the public and share their story but have difficulties doing so. This webinar series aims to help producers with that, giving them the skills to communicate effectively and present themselves professionally online when engaging with a non-agricultural based public.

  • May 13: Media Literacy & Critical Thinking - Beth Forbes, Purdue University
  • May 20: Communication & Engagement - Linda Pfeiffer, Purde University
  • May 27: Communicating Controversial Topics - Group Discussion
  • June 3: Crafting Your Story - Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie)
  • June 10: Presenting Yourself Professionally Online - Sara Hollenbeck, High Five Meats
  • June 17: Practice Telling Your Story - Group Discussion

Each week’s class will begin at 5 PM MST and last until 6 PM. The webinar series will be hosted via Microsoft Teams, which will allow class participants to interact with each other between sessions. If you are unfamiliar with teams, a video will be distributed to familiarize you with the software. The webinar series is free of charge. Registration can be accessed at puext.in/comm4farm. For more information about the webinar series, contact Adriane Good at 406-271-4054.

08 March 2021
Growth Through Agriculture Program Awards Over $830,000 in Grants and Loans

Growth Through Agriculture Program Awards Over $830,000 in Grants and Loans

Governor Gianforte and the Agriculture Development Council announced the recipients of $834,646 in grants and loans awarded through the Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) program.  

“Expanding value-added agriculture helps Montana businesses thrive,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. “The investments made through the Growth Through Agriculture program make it possible for producers and businesses across the state to grow their operations, create jobs, and access new markets. These value-added projects play an important role in promoting Montana’s high-quality commodities and boosting our economy.” 

The application process was highly competitive with projects aimed at creating robust markets for Montana’s agricultural producers. Successful projects ranged from a feedlot development to allow for more in-state livestock finishing, to increasing processing capacity for Montana crops and meat, and expanding value-added food and beverage products, such as fermented foods. Click here to view the full list of funded projects. 

19 January 2021
New Film Features the Dependable People Who Maintain U.S. Wheat Export Reliability

New Film Features the Dependable People Who Maintain U.S. Wheat Export Reliability

U.S. Wheat Associates has created a new film titled “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat” that shows how the people in the export supply system maintain the wholesome, reliable character of U.S. wheat. Among the farms featured in the film is the Hucke family farm located in Geraldine, Montana.

Click here to view the U.S. Wheat Associates films.

08 January 2021
Montana Agriculture Development Council Meeting

Montana Agriculture Development Council Meeting

The Agriculture Development Council will meet virtually Wednesday, February 17th through Friday, February 19th. See attached agenda for order of events. 

To receive information to join the virtual meetings, please email a request to agr@mt.gov or call (406) 444-0134.

The Agriculture Development Council establishes policies and priorities to enhance the future development of agriculture in Montana including the award of loans and grants offered through the Growth Through Agriculture program. Click here to learn more about the Agriculture Development Council. 

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