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Montana Farmers Plant Fewer Wheat Acres

Nationally the intended wheat acres increased 3%

LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette
LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette

According to the Billings Gazette, after years of shrinking their wheat acres, U.S. farmers indicate they’ll be planting more — though not in Montana, the nation’s third largest wheat state, federal officials estimate.

Farmers shared their planting intentions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month. The results, released Thursday, show Montana farmers expect to plant 190,000 fewer wheat acres, while nationally the intended wheat acres increased 3% to 47.3 million.

Wheat is still by far Montana’s largest cash crop, with 4.95 million acres planted, though just four years ago, planting intentions were a million acres larger. Montana farmers were consistently selling $1 billion worth of wheat annually through the first half of the decade.

Prices have slid in recent years because of global overproduction, and farmers have responded by planting other crops like lentils and dry edible peas.

This year is different because acres are down for most crops, said Cassidy Marn, trade and marketing manager for the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee. Marn suspects the long winter, which has kept farmers from planting this month, has influenced what’s being reported to USDA.

Read the full report here.

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