Gov. Gianforte and Ag Development Council Invest in Innovative Agriculture

by Colter Brown

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and the Agriculture Development Council have announced recipients of the state’s $907,504 investment in innovative, value-added agriculture projects through the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) program. 

“By investing in innovative, value-added ag projects, we can help Montana producers keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry and capture more of the tremendous value they create,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I look forward to seeing what these ag businesses are able to accomplish with this investment.” 

From Kalispell to Olive, a total of 24 agricultural businesses throughout the state were awarded funds to advance Montana’s agricultural economy.  

“Year after year, Montana’s Growth Through Agriculture Program propels agricultural businesses toward their goals,” Montana Director of Agriculture Christy Clark said. “The Department of Agriculture is proud to invest in these innovative projects that will add value to Montana agriculture and boost our economy.”  

The GTA program was established by the Montana Legislature in 1987 to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agriculture industry through innovative agricultural business improvements and the commercialization and marketing of new, value-added agriculture products.  

All GTA funding awards require businesses to invest at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 in grant or loan assistance received. The Montana Department of Agriculture administers the program with counsel from the Agriculture Development Council, a seven-member committee appointed by the governor.  

Successful projects ranged from meat and potato processing to flower farms. Below is a full list of funded projects. 

2022 GROWTH THROUGH AGRICULTURE AWARDS 

41 Grains – Circle  

$48,610 grant to purchase a grain cleaner, magnets, and ventilation system to improve the quality of custom grain products. 

Ag Processing Solutions – Great Falls 

$50,000 grant to expand the facility’s small-lot processing and research and development capabilities; and achieve food grade certification as a resource to supply and educate local farmers and investors. 

Auggie’s Meat Processing LLC – Olive 

$30,280 grant and $19,720 loan to purchase a smokehouse, double vacuum sealer, electric butcher block, and skid steer for start-up meat processor. 

Bausch Potato – Whitehall 

$45,762 grant to purchase a tapping/boxing machine and complete Phase II of their Automation Project and research with Montana Tech, including the addition of a remote screen and Programmable Logic Controller optimization. 

Big Sandy Organics – Big Sandy 

$48,150 grant to purchase a new food x-ray machine to meet food safety requirements to service a new contract. 

Buck ‘N Dave’s Eggs LLC – Corvallis 

$14,560 grant and $21,000 loan to purchase equipment such as an auger feeder, auto watering system, and skid steer for business expansion. 

Cold Springs Organics – Bozeman 

$50,000 grant to allow for gravel pad improvements, grain bins, and grain drying equipment for the expansion of a grain cleaning facility for local and organic wholesalers and bakeries. 

Conservation Grains – Choteau 

$12,849 grant and $24,250 loan to purchase a forklift and other equipment to expand flour milling operations and improve grain processing, distribution and storage. 

Discount Meats – Great Falls 

$43,580 grant to repair and enhance meat vending machines security measures and repair the butcher shop foundation. 

Farmented Foods – Kalispell 

$5,221 grant to purchase a manual food processor push feed assembly to process full heads of cabbage, an automatic green onion chopper and food mixer, barrel tipping device, jar drying racks, batch number printer, and one-year subscription to RangeMe online marketplace. 

Farver Farms – Scobey 


$40,146 grant to purchase equipment to increase production capabilities, decrease production time, and seek efficiency training through Montana Manufacturing Extension Center. 

Gastro Gnome Meals – Bozeman 

$17,586 grant to purchase freeze dryers to expand production capacity and product line additions. 

Grotto Meats – Bozeman 

$47,935 grant to purchase equipment and building materials to increase production in an expanded processing space. 

Local Bounti – Hamilton 

$50,000 grant to construct a weather protection structure to support additional research and development infrastructure. 

Millay and Meadowlark Flower Farm – Missoula 

$13,500 grant to purchase a processing shed and walk-in cooler to increase efficiency and expand flower farm operations. 

Montana Craft Malt – Butte 

$50,000 loan to procure, install, and program a bulk weight measurement system to accurately measure and weigh bulk malt orders through production and into packaging. 

Montana Premium Processing Cooperative – Great Falls 

$50,000 grant to purchase cutting, processing, and packaging equipment for a start-up meat processing facility. 

Oddfellow Inn and Farm – Helena 

$58,750 loan for the construction of a modern poultry pole barn, including site preparation and excavation, to increase production. 

Pioneer Meats – Big Timber 

$50,000 grant for purchase of a link cutter and grinder to increase domestic processing capability and sausage production. 

Rimrock Flower Farm – Roundup 

$10,349 grant to purchase a walk-in cooler to allow for higher production and improved efficiency at the flower farm. 

SporeAttic LLC – Bozeman 

$16,330 loan to purchase a delivery van for business expansion and market development.  

Third Day Family Farms – Vaughn 

$5,000 grant for the addition of two high tunnels to extend its growing season by 2-4 months. 

Vilicus Farms – Havre 

$50,000 grant to purchase storage infrastructure, delivery handling equipment, and marketing resources to enable direct sales of identity-preserved organic rye to artisan distillers, millers, maltsters, brewers, and bakers in Montana and beyond. 

Western Cider Co. LLC – Missoula  $25,727 grant and $8,199 loan to purchase a fermentation tank, forklift, electric pallet jack, and expand production through a loading dock concrete addition and glycol system improvements.

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MT Dept. of Ag

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