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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, 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

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

MT Dept. of Agriculture marketing team is scheduling consultations with businesses for the week of April 19th

Virtual Marketing Consultations Available Through Ag Development & Marketing Bureau

The Montana Department of Agriculture's marketing team is looking forward to connecting with Montana food and ag businesses as they schedule virtual marketing consultations for the week of April 19th. Our marketing officers are taking this opportunity to learn more about different companies across the state and explore how the department can help them reach their goals. 

If you are interested in setting up a virtual marketing consultation, please contact Marty Earnheart at (406) 444-9126 or mearnheart@mt.gov

Click here to learn more about the Agricultural Marketing & Business Development Bureau at Montana Department of Agriculture. 

Hail Insurance Available Through Montana Department of Agriculture

State policies available for purchase until August 15, 2021

Hail Insurance Available Through Montana Department of Agriculture

Applications for the State Hail Insurance Program are now available through the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA).

Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land. Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. A detailed list of rates by county and crop can be found online by visiting the MDA website. State policies are available for purchase until August 15, 2021.

Producers who previously purchased state hail insurance will receive applications in the mail. Application forms are also available online or by calling the MDA office. Staff are available to process policies, file claims, and help answer any questions producers may have regarding coverage options. Completed forms can be emailed, mailed, faxed, or used as a reference when contacting the office by phone.

Loss claims are due to the office by October 1, 2021, and must be submitted within two weeks of the hail damage occurrence. Forms are available online or by request.

USDA Announces Funding Available to Organizations to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers under Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative

FSA Accepting CFAP2 Applications Beginning April 5, 2021

USDA Announces Funding Available to Organizations to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers under Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the availability of $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding was made possible by USDA’s new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, an effort to distribute resources more broadly and to put greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers impacted by the pandemic. Today also marks the reopening of FSA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) signup as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farmers and ranchers will have at least 60 days to apply or make modifications to existing CFAP 2 applications

The cooperative agreements will support participation in programs offered by FSA, including those that are part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Interested organizations must submit proposals by May 5, 2021.

Click here to read the full news release.

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