Helena, Mont. – Through Governor Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce have launched a partnership to use Montana’s desirable brand to promote products grown in Montana. The recommendation of a partnership was provided by the Food and Agriculture Key Industry Network, led by Jim Peterson and Greg Thayer.
From our wide-open rangeland and snow-capped mountain peaks to the golden triangle of wheat and barley fields, people want to visit Montana and buy our products. Last year an estimated 11.7 million people traveled to Montana, over ten times the state’s population, and spent nearly $3.6 billion in the state. Introducing visitors and more Montanans to the high quality agricultural products produced within the state can help boost income and opportunities for Montana farmers and ranchers, as well as food businesses and restaurants that source Montana food products.
“The Main Street Montana Project brings together a diverse group of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses to look at ways to advance our industry. One of our recommendations is to capitalize on some of the successful branding efforts in tourism and market agriculture products to both visitors and Montanans,” said Co-Chair and Rancher Jim Peterson.
This Key Industry Network’s final recommendation states in part to “increase demand and use of Montana agricultural products by creating a centralized clearinghouse to share promotional and educational resources and coordinate efforts.” The agreement will enable the Department of Agriculture to promote the Grown in Montana brand across its website and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The Department will also work with Food and Ag Development Centers to provide expertise and share promotional and educational resources.
“The Department of Agriculture works with producers and agribusinesses every day, and the Department of Commerce promotes Montana products through the Made in Montana, Grown in Montana, and Native American Made program, giving us an opportunity for a collaborative effort based on the KIN recommendation. We were excited about the prospect of integrating this branding effort into more Montana agriculture related products and services,” said Agriculture Director Ron de Yong.
The Main Street Montana recommendation states the economic development benefit to include: enhancement of agricultural and food products, not only within the state, but nationally and internationally; provide marketing resources to small businesses in Montana which may not have capacity; increase the marketing effectiveness of small producers leading to business retention and growth; and, improve resident awareness and pride in Montana-made products.
“We’re always looking for ways to increase awareness of products made in the state, including agricultural products,” said Commerce Director Meg O’Leary. “The Made in Montana website lists Montana-grown products from nearly 200 businesses, many of which will be exhibiting at the annual Made in Montana Tradeshow coming up today and tomorrow.”
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 www.agr.mt.gov.
Source: Montana Department of Agriculture