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Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program

Grants and Loans to Montana Individuals, Businesses,
Agencies, and IHEs to Strengthen the Agricultural Industry

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Deadline Date:

11/15/17 2:00 PM


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Grants and loans to Montana individuals, businesses, local governments, educational institutions, and other agencies and organizations to diversify and strengthen the state’s agricultural industry. Applicants must contact the appropriate development center to discuss their proposals. Projects may involve the development of new agricultural products and processes.

Generally, to qualify for consideration, proposals must have practical, near-term application involving new or alternative technologies, practices or organizational arrangements that will stimulate expanded agricultural development, economic activity and employment growth.

Examples of project activities involve equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services such as engineering costs.

The Council designated the following areas to be eligible for consideration for 0% interest rate loans:
-Businesses expanding or adding value to Montana commodities, and
-Businesses transitioning beyond direct sales/farmers markets.

Types of Awards:

The Council determines which projects to fund, and may elect to fund a project through grants or loans.

1) A grant is an award of money without the expectation that the funds will be repaid. Security provisions are required and are structured on an individual case basis. The maximum grant amount for any single application is $50,000.

2) A loan is an award of money with the expectation that the money will be repaid. The Council has the option to defer interest and/or payments for loans. Loans may be repaid over a period of up to eight years. Security provisions are required and are structured on an individual case basis. The maximum loan amount for any single application is $100,000.

Eligible costs under the GTA program include, but are not limited to:
-Consultant Services (professional, technical, operational)
-Advertising and Promotion
-Supplies and Materials
-Communication (telephone, postage, printing, etc.)
-Data Processing

The Council may make a grant or loan if it determines that the project is consistent with the goals of the Growth Through Agriculture Act and:

1) Primarily adds value to Montana’s agricultural products;
2) Has the prospects for commercial success given current personnel, experience and resources of the applicant;
3) Has the prospects to create and/or retain jobs in Montana;
4) Primarily processes or adds value to Montana’s agricultural products currently produced or potentially produced in the state; and
5) Has the management structure to allow the Agriculture Development Council to reasonably conclude that the applicant will comply with ongoing reporting and monitoring activities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181132

Estimated Size of Grant:

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.

Term of Contract:

Typically costs incurred prior to submitting an application for GTA program funding are not funded, however, the Council may consider reimbursement of costs incurred within 12 months prior to approval of a GTA loan or grant on a case by case basis, but only if specifically allowed by the Council.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals for funding are accepted from:
-Businesses and Industry Organizations
-Public and Private Agencies and Organizations
-Educational Institutions
-Local Governments

Additional Loan Eligibility Requirements:

The Council has the option to offer high and low interest loans up to $100,000 for those projects that meet the general criteria for funding listed above.

To be eligible for a low interest loan, the applicant must have unencumbered collateral to secure the full amount of the loan.

The Council can select up to two targeted areas for projects which would be eligible for low interest loans. These targeted areas will encourage specific types of projects and will inform the public of the Council’s particular interests. These targeted areas must be announced 60 days prior to becoming effective.

Additional Grant Eligibility Requirements:

The Council may award grants up to $50,000. In addition to meeting the general criteria for funding, grant applicants must demonstrate through their application that they meet at least one of the following additional criteria:

-The project will benefit additional agricultural companies,

-The project will accomplish research that will benefit agriculture as a whole, or

-The applicant is a nonprofit entity.

Business Registration Required: You must have proper business registration submitted to the Montana Secretary of State's office ( before presenting your Growth Through Agriculture proposal to the Agriculture Development Council.

Two or more individuals or organizations may propose to conduct a project jointly by submitting one application as co-applicants. Please contact program staff for procedures if you are interested in submitting a joint application.

Applicants must demonstrate their team has proven ability to carry out all elements of the proposed project. In addition, applicants proposing to rely upon the expertise of another individual or organization to undertake any part of the project must clearly define the responsibilities of that party as well as provide evidence of that entity’s willingness and demonstrated ability to undertake that area of responsibility.

Ineligible Costs:

-Costs incurred prior to application - Typically costs incurred prior to submitting an application for GTA program funding are not funded, however, the Council may consider reimbursement of costs incurred within 12 months prior to approval of a GTA loan or grant on a case by case basis, but only if specifically allowed by the Council.

-Salaries, wages, food and entertainment are rarely considered eligible costs.

-Food costs – If funding is requested for food costs, applicant must demonstrate how the food purchase would impact agriculture – such as a meal serving and promoting an all Grown/Raised in Montana ingredients and products and where to purchase them.

-Payment of institutional overhead or other indirect costs. The Council does not allow program funds to be used for the payment of institutional overhead or other indirect costs. These costs may be used as in-kind matching contributions from the applicant.

-Political purposes - In no case can funds be used for political purposes.

Pre-Application Information:

Matching funds in an amount at least equal to the amount requested is required by law. For the purposes of the GTA program, matching contributions are funds directed toward completing the project, which are from private, federal, state (other than state grants) or commodity check-off sources, in an amount that is at least equal to the GTA funds requested for the project.

Matching contributions may be provided in the form of cash, in-kind services, indirect or overhead costs, or a combination. Matching contributions may be provided by the project sponsor or by other supporter(s), and must be contributed as a direct result of the project, not as a result of normal day-to-day operations. Matching contributions may not include other state grants.

The Growth Through Agriculture program requires at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 awarded in program funding.

The application deadline has been extended to November 15 at 2:00 PM.

To begin the application process, contact your local economic development organization, Small Business Development Center or, specifically for food product or farm-based energy development, the Food and Agricultural Development Center network to discuss your project and get assistance in applying for your Growth Through Agriculture grant or loan.

Department of Agriculture staff members may provide assistance to applicants during the application process.

Funding decisions will generally occur within 8-10 weeks from the application deadline.

All awards are provided on a reimbursement basis unless otherwise specified by the Council.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Contact your Local Economic Development Organization:

Contact your Small Business Development Center:

Contact your Food and Agriculture Development Center Network:

Lindy Davies, Program Specialist
(406) 444-0511

GTA Program
Montana Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 200201
Helena, Montana 59620-0201

P: 406-444-0511
F: 406-444-9442

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana