Completed Project Report


Growing Montana Food Businesses: Workshops in Understanding Montana’s Food Policy Modernization Law and Mitigating Production Risk from Value-Added Products.

  • Award Amount: $50,000
  • Regional Center: Western Extension Risk Management Education Center
  • Grant Program: 2017 Education Projects
  • Project Director: Kaleena Miller
  • Email: kmiller@aeromt.org
  • Organization: Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO)

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Project Overview


Montana’s new Food Policy Modernization Law (MFPML) offers an unprecedented opportunity to encourage value-added entrepreneurship in Montana. MFPML creates a degree of consistency with federal code & clarifies previously confusing sections that resulted in unpredictable and inconsistent regulations.  “Education, education, education” was a dominant theme of public comments from over 100 stakeholders during the 2015 Montana Legislative Session.  Our primary objective was to educate producers about the opportunities and risks associated with product and enterprise diversification from MFPML. Understanding direct market and cottage food opportunities helps Montana producers diversify farm income, which is increasingly important in uncertain markets exacerbated by climate-caused changes in growing seasons. 

This project, presented in collaboration with Montana’s Food and Consumer Safety Section,  expanded upon AERO’s 2016 workshops covering what MFPML allows and requires to access markets. The 2016 evaluations suggested more workshops held pre-growing season so more producers can attend. AERO held 6 workshops across Montana, reaching 109 agribusiness professionals, including producers, food business entrepreneurs, and resource providers. The project promoted and managed an online forum connecting workshop participants and nonparticipants and we conducted a follow-up process to ensure Montana’s agricultural economy fully benefitted from MFPML.

Number of Participants: 109

Results

Project Steps

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