The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Glasgow Resident Takes On New Role To Help Local Ag

 

November 20, 2019

CB Photography / For the Courier

Tami Burke

The Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC), in partnership with Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation, was recently designated as a regional Food and Ag Development Center (FADC), making it one of eight regional network centers in Montana. The Eastern Montana FADC will focus on providing assistance to producers who want to diversify their operations to include value-added agriculture production and increase access to locally grown food products.

With the designation, Glasgow resident Tami Burke was hired on as the director of the FADC. She will not only oversee FADC but will also provide one-on-one business development, webinars, and training to producers. "I will offer educational training, product development, buyer connection and marketing assistance to producers and businesses that are just starting out or seeking growth opportunities thus creating new jobs in our communities," said Burke.

Even though this is a new role for Burke, the aspects of the position are not different from what she has done in the past. She has an array of experience with establishing partnerships while being involved in the Glasgow Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID), in addition to other involvements in the community, all of which have made an impact. She also works with her husband, Kelly, on the family cattle ranch as a cow/calf operator in addition to running a big game outfitting business in northeastern Montana. "I personally understand the challenges that our ag producers face and I believe in our producers and their products. With that and a great passion to connect people with the tools they need to be successful, the FADC position seemed like a challenge and perfect fit," Burke tells the Courier.

The center, which is based out of Wolf Point, is one of eight regional network centers in Montana. The network provides training, coaching and technical assistance including, product development, testing and analysis; regulatory compliance training; food processing; business planning and development; market research; business networking; access to financing; cooperative development; and education on industry dynamics and technologies. These aspects help Montanans innovate and grow businesses that produce and commercialize food, agriculture, and renewable energy products and processes creating wealth and jobs in communities, farms and ranches.

"The Eastern Montana Food & Ag Development Center will work in partnership with our local ag industry partners to bring new value-added agriculture resources to our ag producers, encouraging the development of more locally-grown/consumed products," said Burke. "Processing our ag commodities in state increases the value of our products prior to them leaving Montana."

Future goals of FADC on a regional scale is to increase producer revenues through value-added agriculture education and production while increasing jobs and strengthening our rural communities, according to Burke. "Diversification is a component of stability and growth for our producers – if our ag producers are doing well our main streets are doing well," she stated.

To contact the Eastern Montana Food and Ag Development Center, contact Burke at 406-480-2819 or email at fadc@gndc.org.

 

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