Montana's struggling agricultural economy has taken another hit following the decision by two of the state's largest buyers of barley to reduce the number of contracts they offer to growers by as much as 60 percent.
The Great Falls Tribune reported Wednesday that Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors informed barley growers this year that they will only be purchasing a fraction of the malt barley they have in recent years.
The two brewing giants say the decision was brought on by an overabundance of barley available in the global market.
The companies account for the purchase of nearly two-thirds of the barley grown in northcentral Montana.
Officials from the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee expect bid reductions to drop between 20 and 60 percent, resulting in a possible loss of more than $65 million in revenue.