Gov.Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Agriculture on June 26 announced that three Teton County ag operations are among the successful applicants for more than $1 million in grant funding that has been awarded from the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program (MTAAP). The grants are designed to provide relief to small and medium-sized food and agriculture businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Grant recipients in Teton County so far are the Gollehon Ranch of Choteau, $10,000; Conservation Grains of Choteau, $10,000; and Tom Maltby, who farms and ranches north of Bynum, $10,000.

Additionally, Allen’s Meat Processing (Jason and Kezia Allen) of Augusta received a $10,000 grant and G&T Farms in Pondera County received $10,000.

“Agriculture drives our economy in Montana, and the COVID-19 crisis has shed new light on the importance of our local food systems,” Bullock said in a press release. “The adaptability grants directly support producers and value-added food and ag businesses affected by the pandemic. From Missoula, to Two Dot, to Scobey, Montanans across the state are finding innovative ways to strengthen and expand our access to local foods at a time when we need it most.”

Funding for the MTAAP totals just over $1 million, with a maximum award of $10,000, and is derived from the federal relief dollars made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. More than 100 businesses received funding. Successful applicants showed how financial assistance would make an immediate impact to their operation in adapting to COVID-19. Projects aimed to increase community resilience to pandemics and other economic disruptions, while also bolstering food security. In many cases, businesses are pivoting their plans to accommodate local markets through new equipment, storage and certifications to provide direct sales to consumers.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.