Cover photo for Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program (GTA)

Montana Department of Agriculture

Closed February 24, 2024

The Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) program is a grant and loan program established by the Montana Legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through the development of new agricultural products and processes. Examples of eligible project activities involve equipment purchases, construction costs, advertising and promotion, and consultant services for engineering. The GTA program is administered by the Agriculture Development Council (Council) which is attached to the Department of Agriculture.


Eligibility Criteria

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. In addition, projects should either benefit additional agricultural producers and/or companies, and/or projects should accomplish research that will benefit Montana’s agriculture industry as a whole. An applicant that receives any two GTA grants within a two-year period will have a one-year cooling off period before applying again, starting in the current calendar year. Please contact GTA staff for any questions on this recent adjustment.

Eligible Costs

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 

Who Can Apply

Proposals for funding are accepted from:

• Individuals

• Businesses and Industry Organizations

• Public and Private Agencies and Organizations

• Educational Institutions

• Local Governments

• Cooperatives

• Non-profits

Business Registration Required

To be eligible to receive funding your business must be registered with the Montana Secretary of State's office ( If your business is not registered, we encourage you to begin that process prior to submitting an application.

Joint Applications

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.

Joint 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.


Additional Loan Eligibility Requirements

The Council has the option to set loan interest rates and offer terms on awards up to $100,000. To be eligible for a low interest loan, the applicant must have unencumbered collateral to secure the full amount of the loan.

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

Application Instructions


The Council may make a grant or loan if it determines a project is consistent with the goals of the Growth Through Agriculture Act. Projects should primarily add value to Montana's agricultural products and have the potential to create and/or retain jobs in Montana.

BEFORE beginning the application process, the applicant should be able to document exactly how the project will expand Montana agriculture. For example, the growth could be measurable either in terms of increased sales (by dollar amount or percentage) or in number of jobs created.

The Council strongly urges applicants to contact the Food and Agricultural Development Center network, Small Business Development Center network, and their local economic development organization for assistance with their GTA application, financial projections, business and marketing plans as necessary. I n addition, the Department is offering the use of this one-page financials template for interested businesses that have been invited to apply and present for the main GTA program: found here

Projects may potentially be funded in a single application for a maximum total amount of $150,000 in the form of grant funding up to $50,000 and loan funding up to $100,000. Examples of project activities involve equipment purchases, advertising and promotion, and consultant services such as engineering costs. A $1 for $1 match is required for all proposals.

FY2024 Priority Areas

  • Rural area food and ag businesses

    • Rural area is defined as an area with fewer than 10,000 people (USDA Rural Definitions link: click here)
  • Investing in processing infrastructure to add value to Montana crops and commodities

  • Businesses focusing on vertical integration (i.e. raw commodity to finished/packaged product)

Targeted Area for Loan Funding

The Council designated the following areas to be eligible for consideration for 0% interest rate loans:

  • Applicant likely does not have access to a conventional loan, such as a startup, or

  • Business is mature and working toward expansion.

Important Dates

  • **October 2, 2023 - ** GTA Pre-application opens

  • **October 23, 2023 - ** Pre-application deadline

  • **Mid-November, 2023 - ** Ag Development Council meeting to select pre-applicants for full application submission

  • **Late November - ** Full application will open

  • **January 8, 2024 - ** Full applications due

  • **Mid-February - ** Ag Development Council meeting to review/award GTA applications

Apply Online

Instructions for Completing a GTA Application:

  • Read the GTA Program Guidelines in order to determine whether or not your project is eligible and learn more about the details of the program to begin the GTA application process.

  • **Contact the Food and Agriculture Development Center NetworkSmall Business Development Center network, and your local economic development organization ** to discuss your project and request assistance in applying for your Growth Through Agriculture grant or loan.

  • **Register with the Montana Secretary of State **. If your company is not already registered with the Montana Secretary of State, you may need to do so before going further with the application process. Organizations other than Sole Proprietorships must be registered with the Montana Secretary of State prior to submittal of the GTA application. Any application from an organization that is not registered with the Montana Secretary of State will not be accepted.

  • Register and Apply Online: Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) applications open on October 2nd. Register and apply here.

  • If you have questions, email


Release Date

October 2, 2023


February 24, 2024

Financial Instrument

Grant, Loan

Maximum Award Amount


Total Program Funding


Updated April 5, 2024

Image Credit: HTurner

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