Northern Ag Network
posted on June 04, 2012 09:58 :: 455 Views
(AP) - The Montana Department of Agriculture held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly remodeled State Grain Lab, showing off $500,000 in improvements.
Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ron de Yong taking part in the event on Thursday said the facility is the "best state grain lab in the nation.
"This project has made such a huge difference, not only in the way we do our job, but also in how we view our work," de Yong told the Great Falls Tribune ( http://bit.ly/JShwBF).
The State Grain Lab is the only federally licensed grain quality testing facility in Montana. It provides grain producers and buyers with information about a grain sample's moisture, content and protein level.
"Grain inspection is really a requirement of efficient marketing," said Jeff Rumney, the lab's bureau chief. "Imagine an individual who's running a mill in Japan, and he wants however many metric tons of wheat at a certain quality and a certain moisture content. It's our responsibility to accurately describe that commodity by those factors that he needs. It provides a very easy way for the buyer and seller or broker to communicate about the quality of that particular lot."
In 2006, state lawmakers, concerned about costs and with an eye toward possibly closing the lab, launched an audit and performance review to find out if state grain producers valued the services the lab provided.
"Farmers view the State Grain Lab as an important component of the state grain industry," said state Sen. Mitch Tropila, D-Great Falls. "Producers view the role of the State Grain Lab as being an independent, fair and accurate lab. Ag organizations recognize the State Grain Lab as an important option in grain inspections and grain marketing. And the State Grain Lab puts foreign buyers at ease regarding Montana commodities."
After getting the results, lawmakers, in 2009, allocated $500,000 to improve the lab.
"We've expanded the business that the State Grain Lab does by about half again as much as we did before the audit," de Yong said. "We've got this newly remodeled building; we have a highly trained professional staff in place and a good support network for that staff. We are now in a much stronger financial position than we have been in for years. We're in good shape."
Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com
Source: Associated Press
Posted by Haylie Shipp