$400,000 Awarded to Montana Ag Businesses and Organizations


Helena, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock and the Agriculture Development Council announced the recipients of $290,500 in grants and $121,500 in loans to agricultural businesses and organizations.  A total of 12 businesses and organizations were awarded funds through the Growth Through Agriculture program (GTA) which was established by the legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry by developing new agricultural products and processes.


“These grants and loans will help grow and expand agricultural businesses and organizations across our state in conjunction with the Main Street Montana Project’s directive to expand access to local foods and foster growth in the state’s agricultural sector. It’s exciting to see the innovation and business development that is adding value to agriculture,” said Governor Steve Bullock.


The Growth Through Agriculture program grants and loans are awarded by the Agriculture Development Council, a seven member committee appointed by the Governor.


One project will use locally grown Montana potatoes that may be deemed too ‘ugly’ for retail sale and would otherwise be composted to distill vodka and gin.  Dry Hills Distillery, located in Bozeman, was granted $48,000 to purchase a potato peeler and dicer equipment to help automate the preparation process before distillation. The company expects to open a tasting room and distillery soon.


“We had over $1 million dollars in financial requests again this cycle – a testament to the interest in the program and the growth in Montana’s food and agriculture sector. The Council was able to fund some very exciting projects that ranged from small poultry processing in the Bitterroot Valley to a new brewery in Glendive,” said Agriculture Development Council Chair Amy Kellogg.


Schuldt Services will be using their $20,000 grant for a mobile sheep shearing trailer based out of Miles City. The grant will help purchase a gooseneck trailer and the materials to construct a modern shearing trailer and a hydraulic wool press for the sheep shearing operation.


The next application deadline for Growth Through Agriculture funding is Friday, January 29, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. The Council strongly encourages applicants to contact their local Food and Agriculture Development Centers and economic development organizations for assistance prior to submitting their application. More information is available on the program’s website.


Fall 2016 GTA Recipients:


Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) was awarded a $15,000 grant to hold workshops at Montana’s four food and agriculture centers on the new federal food modernization law.


The Little Company, LLC received $30,000 to purchase equipment, walk-in cooler and reach-in freezer, to expand commercial kitchen availability in Missoula.


Gambill Inc./C&K Meats – Montana Western Flavors in Forsyth will be expanding and purchasing new meat processing equipment with a $50,000 grant.


Flathead Lake Cherry Growers’, Inc. was awarded a $60,000 loan to develop a processing facility for cherry and fruit juice products near Big Fork.


Homestead Organics Farm, Inc. will be purchasing equipment with a $34,500 grant to build an integrated state inspected poultry and commercial food processing facility in the Bitterroot Valley.


Living River Farms, LLC will work in conjunction with Homestead Organics Farm and use $23,000 in grant funds to purchase equipment for brooding poultry and raising poultry on pasture in Stevensville.


Great Harvest Franchising, Inc. received a loan for $50,000 for a marketing and promotion campaign to grow sales of their products across the country that will increase demand for Montana wheat.


Montana Gluten Free Prairie, LLC in Manhattan plans on expanding their cookie processing equipment to increase efficiencies and expand manufacturing and co-packing opportunities with a $11,500 loan.


Cross Country Brewing, LLC will be purchasing equipment with a $45,000 grant to open a brewery in Glendive, which would be the only brewery between Billings and Wibaux. 


The National Center for Appropriate Technology, Inc. (NCAT) was awarded a $25,000 grant to cover part of the cost of hosting a statewide summit on food and agriculture in 2016.


Source:  The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.  For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.


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