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Montana State Grain Laboratory

State Grain Lab Objectives and Procedures


The Montana State Grain Laboratory, located in Great Falls, operates within the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Grain Standards and the Montana Grain Standards Acts.  The Montana State Grain Laboratory operations is monitored by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS).


To obtain official designation the laboratory follows criteria established by the FGIS, including:

  • All employees must be examined and licensed by the FGIS for all functions they perform.
  • Stringent record keeping methods must be utilized by all laboratory personnel.
  • Four types of official grain certificates are made available to the grain industry.
  • Adequate equipment and a sufficient number of personnel must be deployed in order to maintain an official designation.
  • All records, equipment, and procedures must be available at all times for scrutiny by a Federal Compliance Team, which examines the Laboratory periodically.

Customers who use the official laboratory are assured the best analytical results determined by consistent methodology certified by the FGIS.



The Montana State Grain Laboratory is one of four bureaus located within the Agricultural Development Division of the Montana Department of Agriculture.  The sole function of the Montana State Grain Laboratory is to operate the grain testing laboratory to satisfy provisions of Montana law, which entitles all buyers and sellers of grain to an official grade, protein analysis and other quality tests on any grain delivered to a warehouse.


Laboratory personnel determine grain quality in an unbiased manner. Official grades are issued after applying correct procedures to the grain being tested. All tests are performed without pressure from either buyer or seller, and without knowing how the results might affect the final settlement of a particular grain transaction.


The Montana State Grain Laboratory operates on income that is generated from established fees for services rendered.



Protein, grade and other quality tests are the basis of the price settlement between buyer and seller.  The numerical grade of the grain is based on discounts of various factors such as shrunken and broken kernels, frost damage, germ damage, sprout damage and other degrading factors.

All equipment is tested for precision operation and accuracy on a regular schedule, regardless of the amount of use.  Infrared equipment is calibrated daily.


Accuracy has been the mark of excellence of the Montana State Grain laboratory.  The laboratory has received numerous awards over the past several years for its quality of work in cereal grains.


Accuracy is assured by the laboratory's objective position and the methodology of its official designation.




State Grain Lab
Montana Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 1397
Great Falls, MT 59403
Phone: (406) 452-9561



Published: Tue Jun 21 14:39:00 MDT 2011.
Last Modified: Mon Aug 22 14:40:00 MDT 2016