Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky

Business

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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

 

Pesticides
Technical and compliance assistance to applicators and landowners

Environmental protection services such as waste pesticide disposal, pesticide container recycling , and monitoring of our water resources

Online payments are available for pesticide licenses, adding operators, license renewal late fees, training manuals/study materials, pesticide training courses, and pesticide product registrations

 

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

 

Commodity Research & Market Development
Funds demonstration projects, applied research and market development projects to address specific Montana commodity crop needs and opportunities




Cherry Research & Market Development Program






 

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

 

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


 
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


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
 
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


 
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

 

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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
 
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

 

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

 

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