Tester Secures Over $1.5 Million to Help Train Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Montana


October 27, 2021

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced he secured $1.5 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding for four Montana organizations to teach and train farmers and ranchers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.


“Montana’s family farms and ranches feed the world, and it’s critical that the next generation of producers are ready to hit the ground running,” said Tester. “This funding will ensure that new farmers and ranchers in the Treasure State have the resources and education that they need to succeed in the evolving world of agriculture, and continue to keep one of Montana’s greatest traditions strong for generations to come.”

As a third generation farmer, Tester has been a champion for preparing the next generation of agriculture producers and helped secure funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program through the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Appropriations bill.


This funding will be used to provide education and mentoring programs to help young farmers and ranchers build and manage successful farms.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program funding allocation and usage is as follows:


  • $145,535 for Bar 88 Enterprises LLC in Ennis
  • Bar 88 Consulting & Livestock will leverage its experience with three Montana State University Extension partners to create an educational, training, and support program for Montana goat producers called GoatMT. Through coordinated workshops, webinars, on-farm training events, and mentoring, GoatMT will build a lasting educational network of producers, educators, and cohorts. GoatMT will provide beginning farmers and ranchers production, marketing, and financial information to enhance their knowledge and skills to make educated decisions to start, expand, or diversify their ranching operations and achieve financial sustainability.
  • $564,862 for the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition in Missoula
  • The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition will start its ‘Sustaining On-Farm Success: Building Resilience through Farmer-Led Training’ project and will build capacity for training, mentorship and support in Montana's farmer communities. This integrated set of activities will provide beginning farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to access land, business plan, and establish successful farms. All projects will be farmer-led and include farmers in the planning and execution.
  • $599,740 for the National Center for Appropriate Technology in Butte
  • The National Center for Appropriate Technology will partner with the Montana Organic Association to educate and support beginning farmers and ranchers seeking to explore organic field crop farming in the Northern Great Plains. The project will work with over 300 beginning farmers and ranchers, including military veterans, limited resource, Tribal and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
  • $319,440 for the Stone Child College in Box Elder

The Stone Child Cattlemen's College will deliver a comprehensive agricultural education program to members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe who are seeking to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to begin a career in farming and/or ranching.

Source: U.S. Senate Office of Jon Tester