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Great Falls Development Alliance teams with Economic Development Lethbridge

Anna Flies
Posted at 6:06 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 20:21:49-04

With Canada being Montana’s largest trade partner, a partnership has been in the works for quite some time. On Friday, May 10th, this became official when the Great Falls Development Alliance (GFDA) signing a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL).

The MOU is an agreement between GFDA and EDL to work together moving forward to grow businesses in both regions.

“It just made sense, and as we were traveling up [north], I got to know some of the economic developers through the Economic Development Association of Alberta. We realized that we do economic development the same way,” said Brett Doney, CEO and president of GFDA.

Anna Flies, food and AG bioprocessing business development officer for GFDA added, “We have very similar regions, both in agriculture, production, environment. We're both very business friendly climates and have a ton of energy connections as well.”

The goal is that this partnership will ease the transition for companies looking to expand, start or relocate to here in Montana or across the border.

“Agriculture is a major industry in the region of north central Montana. First of all, on the production side, we grow some of the best wheat and barley in the entire world, in my opinion, and we also have some of the most fantastic pulses,” Flies said.

This also includes AG and bio processing businesses such as Pasta Montana, General Mills Montana, Montana Specialty Mills, etc.

“We have numerous companies, farmers and ranchers that do business in Alberta already. And our closest city, really a sister city is, is Lethbridge, so it will help us strengthen the ties between businesses,” Doney said.

The main focus as of right now is AG and bioprocessing businesses in both Great Falls and Lethbridge.

“Lethbridge has some fantastic agriprocessing businesses, and we would love to learn more about how they were so successful in promoting and helping those businesses,” added Flies.

“We can make it very easy by partnering to have a soft landing. So, if a Canadian company wants a toehold in the states, it's easy just to come down to Great Falls, even if they're a very small company, we will pay a lot of attention to them,” Doney added.