Awards and honors

Amy Allen, special education teacher at Shodair Children’s Hospital, received an Award of Excellence in Education from the Montana Office of Public Instruction. In the past year, five students have completed high school while at Shodair, and four of those were in Allen’s class. Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen present Allen with the award for her ability to motivate students to push themselves to graduation.

News and notes

SCBG applications being accepted

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for an estimated $1.2 million in federal funding available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program. This competitive grant program is designed to expand markets for Montana specialty crops.

Montana’s SCBG program is available for projects enhancing the competitiveness of Montana specialty crops. Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, peas, and lentils, as well as horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Eligible projects include education, marketing, improving distribution systems, development of good agricultural practices, pest and disease control, variety development, and improving production practices. Technical assistance calls will be held on Feb. 5 and 13. For more information, visit

State and/or local organizations, government entities, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts.

Grant proposals are due by midnight Feb. 15. For more information, eligibility guidelines, technical assistance and resources, visit or contact Jim Auer, Specialty Crop Block Grant program manager, at 406-444-5424.

AERO​ to host growing
​food businesses workshops 

After a successful round of workshops on new opportunities for Montana’s food entrepreneurs, AERO will return with a new series of six workshops in 2018.

Montana’s retail food laws now allow cottage food operators to make low-hazard food products in their home kitchens, and sell them directly to consumers year-round in any direct venue. The laws also clarified and offered additional opportunities for temporary and mobile food service operations, for farmers direct-marketing their raw agricultural products and more. 

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These five-hour workshops will be held in six locations: Havre on Jan. 10 ; Glasgow on Jan. 11; Helena on Jan. 23; Joliet on Feb. 6; Miles City on Feb. 7, and Hamilton on March 1. The workshops are for retail food businesses and entrepreneurs, direct-market farmers, market managers, state and local health officials and resource people, business and economic development professionals, local food non-profits, and folks with cottage food business ideas. 

Registration is $12 with lunch, or free for participants who choose to bring their own. Register at Each workshop is limited to 30 people. For more information contact Kaleena Miller of AERO at 406-443-7272 or


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There is no charge for items appearing in the Business Briefcase. Items are run on a space-available basis, and we reserve the right to edit and use information as we see fit.

The deadline is Tuesday at noon to be considered for publication the following Sunday. 


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