GREAT FALLS – People from all walks of life were able to get an inside look into the state’s biggest economic driver by taking part in The Future of Ag Tour.
Montana staples like wheat and barley to lesser-known crops such as pulse and hemp are grown in the Golden Triangle northcentral Montana.
Thanks to a collaboration between the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Star Radio, the Northern Pulse Growers Association and Cargill people both in and outside of the industry were given the chance to explore Montana agriculture first hand.
“What you’re looking at here — this is one of our canola fields. Had a really good question out of the gate…what’s the difference between this canola and that canola? said Cargill Senior Trial Agronomist Keith Hotron.
“This is winter canola, and the stuff that’s flowering is really pretty right now, that’s spring canola,” he added.
Horton and others were at one of many test plots across Montana where Cargill works to develop new strains of canola. They talked about how plants literally battle it out on the Montana prairie.
“You have to win all the way across the state to be a winner, so that way when we give that seed to that grower in 2020 down the road, we know it’s going to perform,” Horton said.
Staying on the leading edge is a necessity as more Montana crops are used products every day.
“As of December of last year, pulses we’re in 8,000 new products just in 2018,” commented Chad Doheny.
“We used to just farm — just go out and farm. You really never paid attention to it. It’s turning into a big science project out here anymore,” Montana Grain Growers Association Treasurer Mith Konen observed.
“Everybody’s worried about their soil conditions, everybody’s worried about the quality of the crop that’s coming off cause we all know where it’s going to end up when we don’t,” he added.
The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce hopes to continue providing an inside look into Montana agriculture and plans on making The Future of Ag Tour an annual event.
-Jason Laird reporting for MTN News