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Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Program

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

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

11/01/18 2:00 PM


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Grants and loans to Montana nonprofits, local governments, educational institutions, businesses and industry organizations, and individuals to diversify and strengthen the state’s agricultural industry. Funding will support innovative improvements to agricultural businesses and organizations, as well as the commercialization and marketing of new agricultural projects in order to keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry and to create new jobs and expand small business opportunities.

Examples of project activities include, but are not limited to:
-Equipment purchases
-Advertising and promotion
-Consultant services such as engineering costs

How the Program Works:

Public and private entities and organizations, business and industry, educational institutions, local governments, and individuals are eligible to submit applications for funding to the Council. The Council reviews applications to determine the funding made to eligible projects.

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.

Personal Guarantee Required:

Recipients of GTA grant and/or loan funding are required to name a personal guarantee, unless otherwise specified by the Council. This would be a person that would be responsible to personally guarantee that the terms of the grant or loan would be met or would be personally and financially responsible if not met.

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.

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.

What Qualifies:

General Criteria for Funding:

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.

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.

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

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181132

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum funding is $150,000 made up of:
-Up to $50,000 in the form of grant funding
-Up to $100,000 in the form of loan funding

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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

Please note that only nonprofit entities may apply for grants.

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-proposal Conference:

Technical Assistance Sessions:

GTA Webinar – How to Apply for a GTA Grant – August 16, 2018 9:00 am MST (the link will be posted closer to the webinar date).

GTA Question and Answer Call One: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 1:00 pm MST, Call: 406-444-4647, access code: 574988.

GTA Question and Answer Call Two: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 10:00 am MST, Call: 406-444-4647, access code: 574988.

Pre-Application Information:

A $1 for $1 match is required for all types of Growth Through Agriculture proposals including both grants and loans.

Applicants should Contact the Food and Agriculture Development Center Network, Small Business Development Center network, and their local economic development organization to discuss the project and request assistance in applying for a Growth Through Agriculture grant or loan.

The application deadline is November 1, 2018 at 2:00 PM.

Applicants selected by the Council for funding will be notified approximately two weeks after the Council meets.

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.

Register and apply online:

Complete the Credit Check Release form and submit by fax, secure transfer, or mail to:

GTA Program
Montana Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 200201
Helena, Montana 59620-0201
Fax: 406-444-9442

Secure electronic file transfer:

Refer Any Questions to:

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program
Montana Department of Agriculture
PO Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620-0201


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana