Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Utah Grain Lab Provides Critical Service To Grain Farmers and Processors

When the semi trucks pull up full of grain, the inspectors and graders at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's Utah Grain lab in Ogden, Utah, are ready to spring into action.

The grain lab grades hay and several different grains. They provide the official certification that ensures that the farmer gets a fair price and the flour mill gets a fair product.

While lab supervisor, George Wilson, and another long time employee, Dave Finch, have certifications for each of the grains the lab inspects, they both have more than 35 years service with the State of Utah and Wilson knows he and Finch won't be around forever.

"That's why we have to get these two certified in everything," Wilson said as he pointed to Cassie Lewis and Jenifer Adams, two of the younger graders at the lab.

 

Jenifer Adams has certifications for wheat and corn.                

 

 

 Cassie Lewis has her wheat certification, so far.     

Lewis has been with the grain lab for three years, while Adams has been with the lab for seven years. Wilson says it is important for as many of the staff to be certified to inspect as many of the grains as possible, because the grain farmers and processors rely on their inspections. Adams says it can take six months or more per grain to become certified by the USDA contracted inspection certification company. The women hope to have 8-10 certifications each eventually. But the studying and practicing has to take place between inspections.

Lewis said it is common to see up to 65 trucks a day during harvest season. They also have to go into the field to inspect rail cars and containers.

Though the small staff at the grain lab was already busy, this year they have added a test the flour mills  are asking for on every truckload now, called a falling number test. The falling number test indicated the starch level in the wheat, which helps the mills know how each load of wheat can best be used.