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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:

11/01/19 2:00 PM MST


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Grants of up to $50,000 to Montana nonprofit organizations and loans to local governments, educational institutions, businesses and industry organizations, and individuals to diversify and strengthen the state’s agricultural industry. Funding is intended for the development of innovative agricultural business organizational improvements and the commercialization and marketing of new agricultural products in order to keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry and to create new jobs and expand small business opportunities.

Projects should primarily add value to Montana’s agricultural products, have prospects for achieving commercial success given the current personnel, experience, and resources of the applicant and have the possibility to create and/or retain jobs in Montana.

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

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.

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.

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.

Eligible costs under the GTA program include, but are not limited to:
- Equipment
- Consultant Services (professional, technical, operational)
- Travel
- 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

The average award amount for the last 3 years has been $20,000 - $35,000.

Term of Contract:

- Project Start Date: 11/01/2019
- Project End Date: 07/31/2022

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals for funding are accepted from:
- Individuals
- 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.

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.

Additional Loan and Grant Eligibility information can be found at:

Pre-proposal Conference:

Webinar: August 14, 2019 10:00 a.m.
- Join Skype Meeting at link below on the day of the webinar to participate.
- To join by phone: 406-444-4647 Conference ID: 574988

Open Question and Answer Conference:
- Call #1 - October 8, 2019 1:00 p.m. Call in number: 406-444-4647 Conference ID: 574988
- Call #2 - October 22, 2019 10:00 a.m. Call in number: 406-444-4647 Conference ID: 574988

Webinar link:

Pre-Application Information:


June 2019: Funding opportunity posted
October 25, 2019, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline for Material Verification
November 1, 2019, 2:00 p.m.: Application deadline
November - December 2019: Council proposal review and scoring.
December 2019: Council invitations sent to scoring applicants by email and letter.
February 2020 - Date TBA: Agriculture Council Review Meeting at the Montana Department of Agriculture in Helena.
March 1, 2020, 5:00 p.m.: Expected announcement of selected applications by mail and email.

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

The Credit Check Release Form must be received by the application deadline. This form is submitted separately – not online.

For Application Assistance: Contact Food and Agriculture Development Center network and/or Small Business Development Center network before you begin the application process by September 1, 2019. These organizations can assist with the application as well as required financial projections, key financial assumptions, business plan, and marketing plan

GTA funds are only available on a reimbursement basis.

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:

Staff contact:
Angie Nelson
Program OFficer
406-444-0134 x

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
or send via 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