Food & Ag Development Center
The Great Falls Food and Ag Development Center (FADC) is dedicated to cultivating and enhancing economic activity rooted in agriculture and its related industries within North-Central Montana.
Special focus is placed on agriculture, bioscience, biofuels, food, and natural resource development drawing on the rich geography of the 13-county trade area of Great Falls. The region is marked by a world-renowned agricultural production zone and a resourceful and innovative population calling the region home. The Great Falls FADC is focused on where food and agriculture are headed in the face of 2050 when we will see 10 billion people with increased levels of global incomes inhabit our globe.
The FADC provides client services to current businesses, as well as entrepreneurs chasing an idea (or trying to come up with one).
The FADC also works to attract businesses and industries rooted in agriculture to the Great Falls trade area that can help increase agricultural basis prices, provide quality jobs, and better position our regional economy to capture the changes coming in agriculture and food as we approach 2050. It’s all part of GFDA’s three-prong approach to economic development: 1) Business Retention and Expansion; 2) Business and Industry Recruitment; and 3) Entrepreneurship Development which is designed to substantially transform the regional economy of North-Central Montana.
The FADC focuses on several areas within its technical assistance (TA) provided to existing businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs getting their feet wet. The categories of TA below are meant to be a general guide for focus areas; however, the FADC and the entire GFDA team welcome inquiries from potential clients that don’t seem to fit into any box as we are out-of-the-box thinkers.
Great Falls FADC Technical Assistance Focus Areas
General Business Assistance: The FADC focuses on technical assistance (TA) that is not duplicative of what the Great Falls Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers. The SBDC is generally the first contact with many in-market entities, and the SBDC and FADC Directors meet regularly to identify the clients that should engage with the FADC program. However, potential clients can always directly request FADC support.
Product Development: TA helps clients develop products that meet consumer demand through, inter alia, design thinking, disciplined entrepreneurship, and product and service innovation approaches. Assistance is provided through one-on-one counseling, peer-to-peer networking, and training presented in coordination with other FADCs, SBDC, and MSU-Cooperative Extension. Assistance related to product composition and process refinement is delivered in partnership with other FADCs and the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC).
Marketing: TA includes, inter alia, helping clients identify customers, marketing concepts, identify willingness to pay, market and customer segmentation, and brand development. TA is provided through one-on-one counseling, peer-to-peer networking, and training presented in coordination with other FADCs, the GF-SBDC, and MSU Cooperative Extension.
Food Safety Regulation Compliance: Limited targeted technical assistance is provided. The FADC acts as a referral source to other centers and state and local government entities, as well as collaborates with other centers on training events.
Export Assistance: General export TA is provided, as well as referral of clients to state and federal government resources.
Capital Attraction: Assistance is provided to firms and entrepreneurs who need assistance to attract equity and debt financing and partners.
For technical assistance, please reach out to Jolene Schalper at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org or (406) 750-4481.