Homegrown Prosperity

Northern Plains Resource Council believes we can build a more diverse and resilient economy that brings prosperity to all Montanans – including rural communities, young folks, blue collar workers, and Native peoples.

What are the tenets of Homegrown Prosperity?

A new Montana economy is possible >>

We want to work toward more resilient and diverse economies of shared prosperity in Montana. A truly prosperous economy is one that protects our precious land and water gives local people control of their economic future, and celebrates the diverse cultures of the Northern Plains.

For too long, Montana's prosperity has been tied to outside forces >>

Almost all Montanans are familiar with the booms and busts of national and international commodity markets. Cities and towns across Montana have felt the painful swings in copper, timber, oil, coal, wheat, cattle, and lots of other Montana industries. While all of these industries bring economic activity to our state, they need to be supplemented with a diverse, resilient, and homegrown Montana economy.

We can build a thriving economy in Montana >>

A truly vibrant economy is one that works for both people and the planet—one built on a foundation of diverse industries, networks of independent Montana businesses, and value-added regional supply chains. In this economy, rural people and young folks can find meaningful work in the place they call home. Main Street businesses thrive, money recirculates to local people, and our jobs and prosperity stay rooted in place.

Building Homegrown Prosperity in Montana

Rebuilding Regional Food Systems

Although Montana is an agricultural state, money leaves the state every day when we feed our families. In the 1950’s, Montana farmers, ranchers and food businesses supplied over 70% of the food consumed in the state. By 2007, that number was down to less than 10%. Similarly, 99% of Montana beef is sent out of the state for processing.

We can keep more of our food dollars in-state and support our agricultural economy by consuming more Montana food products and increasing value-added processing. Approximately 75% of ag products undergo processing before reaching consumers; increasing food processing capacity within MT would keep more of those value-added dollars in the state. Similarly, just a 10% increase in purchasing of Montana-produced food by Montana institutions (schools, universities, etc.) would bring an estimated $5 million directly into the state’s economy.

Northern Plains Resource Council is working to rebuild our regional food system by pursuing a Yellowstone Valley Food Hub. Learn more>>  

Highlights from the 2016 Homegrown Prosperity Conference:




Clean Energy as Economic Development

How can we save people money, make businesses more profitable, and create local jobs? The answer is through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

It is a proven fact that the least cost energy is the energy we don’t use. Many of our homes and businesses are old, inefficient buildings in need of upgrades. Though efficiency upgrades would save us much more money on utilities than they cost in the long run, it can be challenging to afford the up-front cost. How can we make clean energy accessible to all Montanans?

  1. Enable innovative financing tools so that anyone can afford the up-front cost of energy efficiency. Northern Plains Resource Council is working to enable one such tool called Property Assessed Clean Energy. Learn more>>
  2. Ask “who benefits” and ensure that the wealth from renewable energy goes to the communities that need it most.

Highlights from the 2016 Homegrown Prosperity Conference:

Local Business & Entrepreneurship

Local and independent businesses are the foundation of a healthy economy.

Local businesses are more likely to source from other local businesses, causing money to recirculate in the local economy, and strengthen our community fabric with personal relationships and a greater sense of place.

We can build a stronger local economy by focusing on the needs of local businesses, leveling the playing field with big box stores, and shifting our focus from offering tax breaks and sweetheart deals for new businesses attraction to local business retention and infill development.

Highlights from the 2016 Homegrown Prosperity Conference:



Reclamation and Remediation

The coal ash ponds outside of Colstrip Power Plant.

Though there is considerable need for clean-up around the Colstrip Power Plant, no one has considered the job retention possibilities of cleaning up the leaking coal ask ponds and surrounding groundwater. These are jobs that will require many of the same skills and heavy equipment operation that existing workers are trained to do, and the work could take decades to complete.

Northern Plains is partnering with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1638 from Colstrip and the Montana Department of Labor to pursue a study to quantify the job creation potential of cleaning up Colstrip.

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154