AERO applied for, and received, a grant from Western Extension Risk Management Education to conduct additional Food Modernization law workshops in early 2018. This project, presented in collaboration with Montana’s Food and Consumer Safety Section, expands on AERO’s 2016 workshops covering what Montana Food Policy Modernization Law (MFPML) allows and requires to access markets.
The 2016 evaluations suggested more workshops held pre-growing season so more producers can attend. AERO will hold 6 workshops across Montana, reaching up to 150 agribusiness professionals, including a minimum of 60 producers. Locations have not been identified at this time. The project will promote and continue to manage the Montana Food Economy Initiative online forum connecting workshop participants and nonparticipants and conduct a follow-up process to ensure Montana’s agricultural economy fully benefits from the law and make recommendations that can improve the law in the future.
Our primary objective will be to educate producers about the opportunities and risks associated with product and enterprise diversification from MFPML. Understanding direct market and cottage food opportunities helps Montana producers diversify farm income, which is increasingly important in uncertain markets exacerbated by climate-caused changes in growing seasons.