HELENA, MT (STL.News) Governor Greg Gianforte today appointed Mike Foster, the director of the Montana Department of Agriculture, to lead the state’s program responsible for allocating federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“A proven, trusted leader, Mike will direct the state’s ARPA program to meet our immediate and long-term needs,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Mike will ensure we spend these funds responsibly to help guide us through the pandemic and invest in long-term critical infrastructure projects.”
Working with state agencies and ARPA commissions, Foster will recommend to the governor how to distribute over $1.5 billion in federal funds. The governor will allocate the funds in compliance with ARPA and House Bill 632.
“I was honored when Governor Gianforte asked me to serve in his Cabinet as the director of the Department of Agriculture, and I am honored again that he has named me to take on this new position,” ARPA program director Mike Foster said. “Our team is excited to work hard and collaborate with others to maximize the federal funds for the people and economy of Montana.”
Prior to joining the Gianforte administration, Foster served as state executive director of the Montana USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). As executive director, Foster helped Montana producers overcome difficult challenges – including drought, wildfires, trade barriers, and the pandemic – through FSA support.
Christy Clark, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture, will assume the role of acting director for the department.
The governor also appointed Liane Taylor, director of boards and appointments in the governor’s office, to manage outreach related to the state’s ARPA program. Taylor will work with Foster in the Office of Budget and Program Planning.