Montana Department of Agriculture logo

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) provides a variety of commodity services to agricultural producers, businesses and consumers, and enforces laws and regulations related to the production of crops. These include inspection and regulation of produce, feed, seed, fertilizer and grain, as well as the certification of organic producers and handlers.

The State Grain Laboratory in Great Falls is a federally-licensed facility that tests crop samples from more than 20 commodities for quality characteristics such as grain size, protein and germination. Test results and certificates are available electronically through AgTrax.

The Analytical Laboratory at Montana State University in Bozeman provides chemistry testing services to the regulatory and monitoring programs in MDA - Feed, Fertilizer, Pesticide and Agricultural Chemical Ground Water Protection.

The department offers hail insurance for nearly all field crops grown in the state, to a level that typically covers costs to establish the crop.

The MDA offers grant and loan programs for specific commodity crops, including alfalfa seed, cherries, pulse crops (peas, lentils and chickpeas), potatoes, and wheat & barley.

Licenses are available for Commodity Dealers and Commodity Warehouses, Feed Dealers, Fertilizer Dealers, and Seed Dealers, and MDA also provides Export Certification and registers Feed and Fertilizer products. The Hay Hotline is offered by the Montana Department of Agriculture as a service to the Agricultural industry. Producers may list hay for sale and pasture available.

 

Loading grain at one of Montana's Licensed Commodity Warehouses.

What Does the Program Do for Producers?

The Montana Agricultural Warehouse, Commodity Dealer and Grain Standards Act requires people or businesses who buy or store commodities to be licensed and provide surety to help protect farmers from non-payment for agricultural commodities. Separate licenses are required for commodity dealers and commodity warehouse operators.

The program protects producers and the industry by auditing the records of commodity dealers and warehouses, investigating complaints, pursuing enforcement of the act and providing education and assistance to the grain industry and the public.

Who Must Have a Commodity Dealer License?

A commodity dealer is a person or business that buys, exchanges, negotiates, or solicits the sale or transfer of agricultural commodities. Purchasers of more than $30,000 worth of Montana-grown agricultural commodities from producers during a licensing year (July 1 through June 30) must have a commodity dealer license. A commodity dealer is required to be bonded as well as licensed.

Who Needs a Commodity Warehouse License?

Probing grain at one of Montana's Licensed Commodity Warehouses.

A commodity warehouse is an elevator, mill warehouse, sub-terminal grain warehouse, public warehouse or other facility compensated to store, handle, process, or shipment commodities.

Facilities that maintain a U.S. Warehouse Act License do not require a state warehouse license. A public warehouse operator must post storage and handling charges for the facility. Operators must maintain current records of all agricultural commodities stored, conditioned, handled, or shipped.

Additional details on licensing can be found in the tabs below.

If you would like a list of the current licensed Montana Commodity Dealers/Warehouses, please contact the department at (406) 444-3950. A licensed entity search will be available online in early 2017.

 

Commodity Dealer Licensing Requirements

A commodity dealer is required to be licensed and obtain surety in the form of a bond, certificate of deposit or letter of credit. (The law does not apply to dealer-to-dealer transactions.) Exceptions to licensing are described in 80-4-402, MCA. A commodity dealer who is also a licensed seed dealer (most commodities purchased are for resale as agricultural seed) can file for a seed dealer fee reduction. All necessary forms are available below.

See the instructions for use of required forms, also available below below, including:

Annual Fees

  • New license applications and renewals (prior to July 1): $464 per Montana location
  • New applications and renewals with seed dealer fee reduction: $100 per location
  • Late fee for annual renewals submitted after July 1: $50

Licensing fees are per location and an additional license is required for businesses also operating as a state warehouse. Montana code and administrative rules provide definitions. Questions can be addressed to department staff by email or by calling (406) 444-3950.

Commodity Warehouse Licensing Requirements

Loading grain at one of Montana's Licensed Commodity Warehouses.

Annual Fees

  • New license applications and renewals (prior to July 1): $464 per Montana location
  • Late fee for annual renewals submitted after July 1: $50

Licensing fees are per location. Facilities that maintain a U.S. Warehouse Act License need not apply for a state warehouse license. Separate commodity dealer licenses are required for each location. Montana code and administrative rules provide details. Questions can be addressed to department staff.

 

Commodity News

Montana Cherry Growers to Receive Survey

Survey results will determine future of cherry checkoff

Montana Cherry Growers to Receive Survey

Helena, Mont. –  Montana’s cherry growers will have the opportunity to make their voice heard in the coming weeks. The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is submitting a referendum to all known growers and producers of cherries in Montana to determine whether to continue the Montana Cherry Research & Market Development Program, commonly known as the cherry checkoff. Paper ballots will be mailed on Thursday, November 16, 2017 and must be returned via postage-paid envelope by Friday, December 1, 2017.

Meeting Notice: Hail Board, 2017 Crop Year Annual Report Available

November 29, 2017 at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls

Meeting Notice: Hail Board, 2017 Crop Year Annual Report Available

The State Hail Board will meet on November 29, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls, MT. Click here for the meeting agenda. 

The Hail Insurance Program 2017 Crop Year Annual Report is also now available. Click here to view or download the report.

MDA Director Thomas Joins Fellow North American State & Provincial Agriculture Officials for Trade Talks

MDA Director Thomas Joins Fellow North American State & Provincial Agriculture Officials for Trade Talks

Helena, Mont. – Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Ben Thomas joined state and provincial counterparts from the United States, Mexico and Canada last week to stress the necessity of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for agriculture and to call on their respective federal governments to ensure a modernized NAFTA does not harm agriculture. North American state and provincial agriculture officials gathered last week in Denver, Colo. for the 26th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord. The Tri-National Agricultural Accord represents a longstanding commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of North America to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.

Commodity Services Bureau
Phone : (406) 444-3950
E-mail : csb-mtplants@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9466
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

 

Bob Ballensky
Seed and Commodity Dealer / Warehouse Program Manager

Phone (Office) : (406) 444-3950
Phone (Cell) : (208) 738-8920
E-mail : BBallensky@mt.gov
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

 

Andy Gray
Commodity Services Bureau Chief

Phone : (406) 444-3730
E-mail : ANGray@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9466
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

 

Commodity Dealer & Warehouse Licensing Forms & Files

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