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As a Food & Agricultural Development Center, Headwaters is part of a statewide network that provides assistance in food and value-added agricultural product development, marketing, and farm-based energy development. With centers in Joliet, Havre, Ronan, Bozeman, Greatfalls, Wolf Point and Butte, the network focuses on adding value to existing agricultural resources within Montana.

We work to support economic development by ensuring that more of the state’s food, agricultural and energy dollars circulate in Montana by keeping more of our agricultural products within the state by processing them locally.

Here at Headwaters, our services and expertise include:


  • Educational and training workshops

  • Revolving and micro loan funds

  • Business plan assistance

  • Financial and market assistance

  • Food system research and analysis

  • Renewable energy, including biomass

Additional training, coaching and technical assistance provided by the network, include:


  • Product development, testing and analysis

  • Regulatory compliance training

  • Food processing

  • Business planning and development

  • Market research

  • Business networking

  • Access to financing

  • Cooperative development

  • Education on industry dynamics and technologies

For more information please contact:


Jessica Pendleton

Director, Food & Ag Development Center


Samantha Motzko

SCBG Program Director


We need your input!

Headwaters RC&D Small Business Development Center and Food and Ag. Development Center want to bring valuable resources to small business owners and individuals in Southwest Montana. 

Please take a moment to tell us what topics and trainings you would like to see us host in this upcoming year. We will use this information to help us seek out various qualified presenters to bring to you. 


Take the Survey:


The department offers the following grant and loan opportunities for agriculture-related enterprises. Contact MDA for application assistance, or to request information about additional programs and opportunities.

  • Commodity Crop Development Programs are available for Alfalfa Seed, Pulse Crops (Peas, Lentils & Chickpeas), Potatoes, and Wheat & Barley.

    • The Alfalfa Seed Program, established under the Alfalfa Seed Industry Act, provides direction for research and marketing toward the continued growth of the alfalfa seed industry of Montana. The program is directed by the Montana Alfalfa Seed Committee.

    • The Pulse Crop Research & Market Development Program provides support for pea, lentil and chickpea production. It is funded by industry fees and led by the Pulse Crop Advisory Council.

    • The Potato Research & Market Development Program is funded by industry and led by the Montana Potato Advisory Committee.

    • The Montana Wheat & Barley Committee (MWBC) administers research and marketing activities for Montana small grain crops. The MWBC is funded by a producer checkoff and guided by a Board of Directors made up of producers from around the state.

  • Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) offers investments for new and innovative agribusiness developments or agriculture marketing programs. The Agriculture Development Council, which consists of representatives from industry and government, reviews applications and selects successful projects for GTA investments.

  • Junior Agriculture Loans assist and encourage members of agricultural youth organizations in financing agricultural projects when funding is unavailable from other sources. Projects can involve crop and livestock production, custom farming, marketing, processing and other financially feasible projects.

  • Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grants were established by the 1985 Montana Legislature to provide funding for the development and implementation of weed management programs. The trust fund also supports research and development of innovative weed management techniques including biological controls, and funds research and education projects.

  • Rural Assistance Loans are available to producers with modest financial investments in agriculture. These loans finance agricultural enterprises to enhance producers' operations and assist in the economic growth and welfare of Montana agriculture.

    • Beginning Farm & Ranch Loans are available from a tax-exempt bond program that aids financial institutions in assisting Montana's beginning farmers and ranchers. Loans can be used to purchase agricultural land and other depreciable agricultural property.

  • State Tax Deduction for Sale of Agricultural Land : Sellers of agricultural land may obtain up to $50,000 in state tax-deductions against capital gains and other earnings associated with the sale of land to a qualified beginning farmer or rancher if it complies with other statutory requirements. The deduction may be claimed over several years against state taxes only, but may not exceed the maximum amount of $50,000. Download the Application Form for a State Tax Deduction for Sale of Agricultural Land.

  • Specialty Crop Block Grants offer grant funds to Montana's specialty crop industry solely to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in Montana: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Funds are provided from the federal USDA Farm Bill.

Newsletter Sign Up

Montana Ag-Tech Innovation & Investment Summit
January 24

Small-Scale Growing and Marketing for Beginning Farmers
Virtual Webinar Series

Jan 10 12:00-1:30 PM
Jan 24 12:00-1:30 PM
Feb 14 12:00-1:30 PM
Feb 28 12:00-1:30 PM
Mar 7 12:00-1:30 PM

Montana Soil Health Symposium
February 7-9, 2023

Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) For Human Food Training

February 8-9, 2023 8am - 5pm | February 10, 2023 8am-12noon


Made in Montana Tradeshow
March 10-11 2023

LOR Foundation Grant

Award Amounts: $10,000

Applications Due: February 10, 2023

Purpose: The LOR Foundation, which funds place-based community work in NM, CO, WY and MT, is launching a new initiative titled “Field Work” to support local farms and ranches. First up: Up to $10,000 grant funding available in 2023 direct to farms/ranches in MT for implementing innovative, water-focused projects designed to improve their ranch/farming outcomes in any of the following areas: water reliability, water efficiency, water quality, crop yield, crop diversification, labor efficiency.The goal is a simple application with short decision turn around, so farms and ranches can implement projects this coming growing season..

More Information:

Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Planning Grant

Award Amounts: $27,000

Applications Due: March 15, 2023

Purpose: The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Program (BSTF) Planning funds are awarded to eligible applicants to assist with economic development planning efforts that promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana. Applications which support a critical activity to move an economic development project forward and directly assist a basic sector business and provides a Return on Investment (ROI) on the state's investment are the highest priority for the Department.

More Information:

​Renewable Energy for America Program grant (REAP)

Award Amounts: $25,000-$250,000

Applications Due: March 31, 2023

Purpose: This USDA Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy-efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. Examples of eligible projects include: Energy efficiency - updating insulation, lighting, HVAC, doors, and windows, switching from diesel to electric irritation motors. Renewable energy systems - biomass, geothermal for electric generation, wind generation, solar generation.

More Information:

Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Business Acceleration Program (BAP)

Award Amounts: $20,000

Applications Due: Rolling

Purpose: Fund projects still in early expansionary phase of development. Support startup businesses in minimizing time to profitability. Offer expanding businesses the ability to establish groundwork for capital expenditure Accelerate new, innovative products up to commercialization.

More Information:

Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Market Development Program (MDP)

Award Amounts: $5,000

Applications Due: Rolling

Purpose: Help businesses access and develop new and existing markets. Support businesses in overcoming market barriers. Expand businesses’ digital/web offerings, including e-commerce. Allow businesses to showcase products in domestic and international tradeshows and competitions.

More Information:

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