Montana Congressional Delegation Works to Remove Trade Barriers for Montana Pulse Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines, Senator Jon Tester and Congressman Ryan Zinke are actively working to resolve regulatory barriers that threaten Montana pulse crop producers’ access to international markets.

The Montana Congressional delegation sent a letter urging Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to resolve issues surrounding India’s recent regulatory changes that will negatively affect Montana pulse producers’ ability to export peas, lentils and chickpeas to Indian markets. The delegation is working to preempt the economic hardships that pulse producers may face as a result of reduced access to critical markets abroad.

“Montana produces more pulse crops than any other state in the nation,” the Montana delegation wrote. “This industry is a rapidly growing and integral aspect of our economy as producers in the state planted over 680,000 acres worth of pulses worth over $100 million in 2014. We request that USDA and Commerce engage with the Indian government to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and provide pulse producers in Montana and across the country the certainty they deserve.”

On October 18, 2015, India’s central government reduced the allowable amount of pulse crops that can be stored in India before being sold on the market. This directly threatens U.S. pulse exports to India and the future of more than 200,000 metric tons of pulses that are currently being held at Indian ports.

Pulse crops play an integral role in Montana’s economy:
• Montana is the number one pulse producing state in the country.
• Montanans planted over 680,000 acres of pulses in 2014, an increase of 38 percent from the previous year.
• Montana’s pulse crops were valued at $140 million in 2013.

The Montana Congressional delegation’s letter is available here.