Gianforte Announces Director of the Department of Agriculture

December 23, 2020

Governor-elect Greg Gianforte today announced his appointment of Mike Foster to lead the Department of Agriculture. 

 “Montana farmers and ranchers drive our state’s number one industry, and deserve a leader who will work tirelessly to help them capture more of the value they create,” Governor-elect Gianforte said. “With a robust understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by our producers and a strong commitment to meeting their needs, Mike Foster will serve Montana ag well.” 

 Foster joins the Gianforte Administration from the United States Department of Agriculture, where he served Montana farmers and ranchers since 2018 as state executive director of the Montana USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). As executive director, Foster helped Montana producers overcome difficult challenges such as drought, wildfires, excessive and ill-timed moisture, terrible blizzards, low prices, trade barriers, and a pandemic through FSA support. 

“I am honored and humbled to serve in Governor-Elect Gianforte's administration, and look forward to working with him, Lt. Governor-Elect Juras, and the entire team. Montana farmers and ranchers work hard to feed the world, and I’m excited to be a strong voice for these Montanans at the Department of Agriculture,” incoming director of agriculture Mike Foster said.  

Foster has received numerous statements of support for his appointment:

LOLA RASKA, Executive VP of Montana Grain Growers Association

“Mike Foster has proven himself to be a champion of Montana agriculture and a superb administrator during his time as Executive Director of the Montana Farm Service Agency, and I know he will serve our grain producers well as our next Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.”

NICOLE ROLF, Director of National Affairs for Montana Farm Bureau Federation

“Mike Foster is a fantastic pick to lead the agency that serves our state’s largest industry. Mr. Foster is a proven and esteemed administrator who has earned the respect and admiration of farmers and ranchers statewide due to his responsiveness to their needs and high level of professionalism.”

JIM STEINBEISSER, President of Montana Stockgrowers Association

“We would like to thank Governor-elect Greg Gianforte for selecting Mike Foster as the new Director for the Montana Department of Agriculture. Mr. Foster is well versed in the issues facing Montana agriculture and has shown his willingness to work with all stakeholders in the state to achieve positive results.”

 Foster is the first agency head appointed by Governor-elect Gianforte, who campaigned on installing new leadership and adopting a culture of customer service at state agencies. 

 A Townsend native, Foster spent the early part of his career as a high school teacher and coach. He represented HD-32 and SD-20 in the Montana legislature, and also served as regional director of advocacy for St. Vincent Healthcare. 

 Foster earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Montana College in secondary education, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carroll College, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Montana.

Source: Gov. Elect Greg Gianforte's Office