The Roundup -

The Montana Department of Agriculture held a Roundtable Discussion in Sidney to Access Area Needs


Agriculture Development and Marketing Officers Marty Earnheart, Treston Vermandel, and Steph Hystad with the Montana Department of Agriculture held a round-table discussion in Sidney on Monday, Aug. 22nd.

The discussion, which was open to the public, is one of many being held across the state; the officers wanted to hear feedback from those involved in local agriculture to determine area strengths and needs. The purpose of the Agriculture Development and Marketing Bureau is to assist agricultural businesses in setting and meeting goals. Some of the successful programs implemented by the agriculture Development and Marketing Bureau include Farm to Institution Programs, Food and Agriculture Development Centers, and 1:1 matching Growth Through Ag grants.

The biggest concern of local residents continues to be the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation’s weir diversion project that has been put on hold due to a lawsuit filed by the Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council against the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Bureau of Reclamation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Other concerns included high freight costs, as the BNSF Railway which runs along the high line hauls everything except coal, and therefore shipping grain must compete with all other goods transported along the lines. It was mentioned that many grain elevators can’t ship spring grain and those that can store it are charging $.10/bushel to store it on the ground. Rural water projects were also discussed; these rural water projects remain on the state and federal waiting lists despite attempted progress by local officials over the last 10 years.

Any business that is interested in more information about the Agriculture Development and Marketing Bureau, and how they can help, may visit their website at or call 406-444-9126. Richland Economic Development is also able to assist those who are interested in applying for grants and they can be contacted at 406-482-4679.


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