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(1)  A person desiring to certify processed feed products as noxious weed seed free must make an annual application on the department's application form. The application shall be valid from the date of issuance through December 31 of that calendar year.

(a)  Applications for certification of mechanically cleaned grain concentrates must describe the method of cleaning to remove noxious weed seed. The method must be approved by the department.

(2)  Persons desiring to certify processed pellets must meet the following criteria:

(a)  Equipment is cleaned of any noxious weed seeds prior to processing forage for certification. Cleaning the entire feed manufacturing system through the bagging operation or bulk bins is required to prevent contamination of pellets for certification. A minimum of 500 pounds of the feed to be certified must pass through the system including the pelleter to purge the system. The feed used to purge the system will not be certified.

(b)  The forage must be pelleted following the standard pelleting process.

(c)  All screens must be maintained in a good operating condition.

(d)  The forage pellets must be reground with a number six (6/64 inch)  screen or smaller.

(e)  The forage material from (2)  (d)  must be repelleted using steam and temperature in the process. The temperature of the pellets extruded from the die shall be greater than 140° F.

(3)  Equivalent pelleting procedures: Any person may apply for department approval of an alternative procedure for pelleting certified forage. The application shall include:

(a)  A complete narrative description of the procedure.

(b)  Independent laboratory study that demonstrates that the process is as effective as the process in this rule.

(c)  Documentation that the laboratory methods used are scientifically acceptable and results are statistically valid.

(d)  The department may deny or grant approval of the request based upon the information received from the applicant and from data and information from other sources. The department may also withdraw its approval should investigations or future studies reveal the procedure is not equivalent to accepted procedures.

(4)  A person desiring to certify cubes or other forage products must ensure that:

(a)  All constituents be processed from certified forage meeting Montana certification standards.

(b)  Equipment is cleaned of any noxious weed seeds prior to processing forage for certification. A minimum of 500 pounds of certified forage must be purged and cleaned through the entire system (from cubing to bagging or bulk storage)  prior to processing cubes or other forage products. The 500 pounds of forage used to eliminate any noxious weed seeds will not be certified.

(5)  A person desiring to certify grain concentrates coming from noncertified fields must meet the following requirements:

(a)  an annual production plant inspection must be performed by an agent;

(b)  samples will be taken by an agent and sent to the Montana state seed laboratory or an alternate facility designated by the department to determine if the product meets NWSFF standards of zero tolerance. The sampling procedure will follow the procedure and the minimum amount required for seed testing as prescribed by the Association of Official Seed Analysis, "2003 Rules For Testing Seeds" which is adopted and incorporated by reference, and can be obtained from the Montana Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 200201, Helena, MT 59620-0201; and

(c)  at the conclusion of the inspection/sampling/analysis process, those lots of grain concentrate meeting criteria for certification will be certified. The department will provide:

(i)  an invoice for the inspection fees;

(ii)  appropriate markers; and

(iii)  transportation certificates.

(6)  To enforce this chapter, the department upon presenting appropriate credentials may enter, at reasonable times or under emergency conditions, any factory, warehouse, or establishment within the state in which grain concentrates, pellets, cubes and other forage products are manufactured, processed, packed, distributed, or held, or enter any vehicle being used to transport or hold such products. The department may inspect, obtain samples and examine records at reasonable times and within reasonable limits and in reasonable manner any factory, warehouse, establishment, or vehicle and all pertinent equipment, finished and unfinished materials, containers, and labeling found in them.

(7)  Grain concentrates, cubes and pellets shipped into the state as noxious weed seed free must meet all of Montana's NWSFF certification requirements.

(8)  Any person may request Montana certification of their grain concentrate, pellets, cubes or other forage produced out-of-state from the department. The department may enter into agreements with other state departments of agriculture or appropriate state agencies or provincial governments to verify that the grain concentrate, pellets, cubes or other forage meet Montana NWSFF certification standards. The agreements may specify the types of identification markers and/or transportation certificates that are acceptable.

History: 80-7-909, MCA; IMP, 80-7-905, 80-7-906, MCA; NEW, 1996 MAR p. 1361, Eff. 5/24/96; AMD, 2004 MAR p. 311, Eff. 2/13/04.

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