Thinking of Buying Some Canadian Hay?


With the shortage of hay and feed in the western U.S. due to drought and wildfires, many ranchers are looking far and wide for their winter hay supplies.

To the north and west, moisture has been better this summer, so many producers are considering buying hay in Canada and shipping it south.

For those U.S. ag producers who may be hauling Canadian hay across the border, it is important to know the rules.  We talked to the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection office and learned that to understand how those rules affect you.  It makes a lot of difference whether you are an actual Farmer or a Commercial Trucker, which Port of Entry you are using, and whether your load is worth more than $2,000 in total.

There are just three 24-hour Commercial Ports in Montana, at Roosville, Sweetgrass, and Raymond.  The other ten crossings are only Permit Ports, meaning that special permitting is required prior to commercial loads crossing.

In general:

1.  A U.S. farmer or rancher who wants to haul purchased hay south, can use any port as long as he has the proper invoice for the purchase and proof the FDA Prior Notice requirement has been met.  A CBP Form 7523 should also be completed.  

2.  A Canadian farmer can also bring his hay south at any port, as long as he has an invoice and proof the FDA Prior Notice requirement has been met.     A CBP Form 7523 must also be completed.  

3.  A Commercial Carrier must haul through one of the three Commercial Ports or obtain a permit to cross at a permit port, unless the shipment is valued at less than $2,000, and then it can be transported under informal entry procedures.  The informal entry will need a completed CBP Form 7523 signed by both the importer and the truck driver, a commercial invoice listing the value and proof of FDA Prior Notice.  If the Commercial Carrier is hauling a shipment worth more than $2,000, then the shipment requires a Broker to assist with the entry (and obtaining a permit, if a permit port will be used). 

Customs officials have some discretion on permit requirements, especially with regards to how far the hay is being delivered past the border into the U.S.

For any questions regarding U.S. Customs rules for border crossings in Montana, you will find the Customs office in Great Falls to be very helpful: 

        Ross Lyle

        Assistant Area Port Director, Trade   

        Great Falls, MT

        email:  ROSS.LYLE@CBP.DHS.GOV

        ph:  406 453-7631 option 1 extension 203

For more information on the difference between a commercial and permit port, CLICK HERE.  To see the permit application that would be completed by a customs broker, CLICK HERE.


© Northern Ag Network 2012

Taylor Brown


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