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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 a Montanas licensed commodity warehouse.

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 a Montana licensed commodity warehouse.

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 click here.


Commodity License

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.


Warehouse License

Commodity Warehouse Licensing Requirements

Loading grain at a Montana licensed commodity warehouse.

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.


Montana State Seed Laboratory

The Montana State Seed Laboratory in Bozeman, tests seed samples for producers, the Montana Seed Growers Association, the Montana Department of Agriculture, and the seed industry. Seed testing determines the percentages of pure seed, other crop seed, weed seed, inert matter and germination for seeds to be used for planting. For more information about the Montana State Seed Testing Laboratory, please refer to their website at:
plantsciences.montana.edu/seedlab


Commodity News

Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee Board Virtual Meeting

Wednesday, June 24th at 9:00 a.m.

Public Meeting Notice: MT Wheat & Barley Committee Board Virtual Meeting

The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee Summer Meeting will take place on a virtual meeting format, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. The meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, and last until 12:00 p.m. 

To receive call-in information please contact the MWBC office with and provide your email address. As always, the public is invited to participate virtually in the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee board meeting.

For more information, please visit https://wbc.agr.mt.gov/, call (406) 761-7732, or email wbc@mt.gov.

Documents to download

Grants Available through the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program (MTAAP) for Food and Ag Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

Up to $10,000 available to small and medium-sized food & ag businesses intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security

Grants Available through the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program (MTAAP) for Food and Ag Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program

Click Here to Apply


Grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID 19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Grants are intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. The need for such innovations must be driven by the COVID 19 pandemic. Total funding available is $500,000, with a maximum application amount of $10,000.
mtaap@mt.gov

 

ARM Public Hearing Notice: Commodity Dealer Licensing and Restricted Weed Seeds (4-20-267 and 4-20-266)

Conference Call - Friday, April 17, 2020 at 10:30am

The Montana Department of Agriculture proposed admininstrative rulemaking for these two rules in Issue 6 of the Montana Administrative Register (MAR). Both proposal notices and their public hearing information can be viewed at the Secretary of State’s website at: https://sosmt.gov/arm/register/. A Public Hearing will be held via teleconference on April 17, 2020 at 10:30am. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the public hearings.

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


Commodity Services Bureau
Phone : (406) 444-3950
E-mail : csb-mtplants@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601