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Montana Department of Ag to offer grant program for value-added agriculture
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Montana Department of Ag to offer grant program for value-added agriculture

On Nov. 4, 2021, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte announced a $7.5 million Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program in an effort to promote Montana value-added agriculture. The monies for the grant program are sourced from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

“Part of Gov. Gianforte’s ‘comeback plan’ is adding value to agriculture. He has been really focused on that, so the Montana Department of Agriculture is keenly focused on that, as well,” stated Christy Clark, acting director for the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Awarded grants will require fund matching, Clark continued. Grants up to $150,000 will require a one-to-one match. Awards from $150,000 to $300,000 will require a two-to-one match, while grants from $300,000 to $450,000 will take a three-to-one match.

“We are reserving about $3.75 million for projects over $150,000, so we are really kind of focusing on the larger projects,” Clark added.

This grant program has really been left wide open. To be eligible for funding, a project must in some way add value to a raw Montana agriculture commodity. Montana is known for its quality agriculture production, but often those raw products must be transported out of the state for processing. Through this grant, Gov. Gianforte and the Montana Department of Agriculture are hoping to entice more manufacturing and commodity processing so as to further bolster Montana’s economy.

“We are really just excited to see what is out there for innovative, agricultural value-added ideas. We have such an abundance of raw commodities in Montana and it’s going to be nice to see how people want to add value to that,” Clark said.

It is a priority of both the Governor and the Montana Department of Agriculture that these funds be distributed in a timely manner. To promote a quick boots-on-the-ground response, the application process for this grant program has been streamlined. Project concept papers will be due to the Montana Department of Agriculture by Dec. 15, 2021.

After the Dec. 15 deadline, Clark and four industry representatives will review the concept papers and invite selected projects to submit a full grant application, which will be due by Feb. 28, 2022, with funding recommendations to the ARPA Commission to be made roughly a month later on March 25.

“Value-added” is a broad term and the hope is that concept and its endless possibilities will be mirrored in the projects that are proposed. With a local foods movement percolating through consumers and Montana a nation leader in agriculture production, the timing is prime for this grant program.

“Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry and our administration is partnering with our ag industry to find ways to add value to commodities here in Montana. By investing in value-added processing and manufacturing in Montana, our producers will be able to keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry, create jobs, and expand business opportunities here in Montana,” Gov. Gianforte stated about the grant program.

Those interested in this grant program can visit to learn more and apply.

The Prairie Star Weekly Update

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