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Gianforte Names Foster To Lead Department Of Agriculture

Hay field. File photo.

Gov. elect Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday that he’s appointed Mike Foster to take over the state Department of Agriculture. 

Foster has worked as the state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency in Montana since 2018. He was appointed to that position by President Donald Trump.

Foster has served as a Montana legislator, as a policy adviser to former Republican Gov. Judy Martz and also on the state Board of Regents.

According to a news release from Gianforte, Foster’s appointment has received endorsements from the Montana Grain Growers Association, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Foster is Gianforte’s first appointment to a director position at a state agency. The governor-elect has said he plans to install new leaders at every state agency, and he put out an open call for applicants. Those picks will need confirmation from the state senate.

Foster will replace Ben Thomas, the outgoing director who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in 2017.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.