Montana's state grain lab hosted growers interested in checking out equipment, personnel and new procedures in Great Falls earlier this month.
The open house showcased energy efficiency improvements at the facility and remodeling plans at the site.
Contractor tours provided a first-time look at how the new facility will appear.
"We are proud of our staff and of the improvements to the laboratory and offices," says Jeff Rumney, chief of the State Grain Laboratory Bureau.
Changes in the lab's physical layout includes the separation of machines from customer interactions to benefit both staff and clients who deliver grain samples or correspond by phone
A Plentywood office samples and inspects pea and lentil crops for producers in the northeastern area of Montana.
The Montana State Grain Laboratory is the only federally licensed crop quality testing facility in the state. It operates within guidelines established by USDA's Federal Grain Inspection Service and the Montana Grain Standards Act. Producers have the right when selling their crops to request official analysis at the State Grain Lab to assure unbiased testing for grain quality.
The Montana lab secured new federal options a year ago authorizing the facility to issue certificates to grain producers and buyers seeking to market baking-quality wheat.
AN official from the Portland, Ore., office of the federal inspection service toured the lab and administered a test to complete a six-month process designating the Montana lab as a federally authorized "falling numbers" facility, says Rumney.
Falling numbers tests determine baking quality my measuring amylase enzyme activity, which leads to starch degradation during baking. The longer it takes for a rod to fall through a precisely heated mixture of ground wheat and water, the more desirable the wheat is for baking, according to the Northern Crops Institute.
Rain on wheat ready to harvest can trigger the enzyme activity.