GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana farm officials are concerned farmers might lose the advantage of competitive bidding from two grain companies that recently became owned by a Japanese conglomerate.

Marubeni America Corp. already owned Columbia Grain when in May it purchased Gavilon Group for $3.6 billion. The two grain companies have grain facilities in Montana, some in the same vicinity.

Lola Raska of the Montana Grain Growers Association tells the Great Falls Tribune that it's hard to believe the parent company will allow the smaller companies it owns to compete against each other.

But she says an expanded presence in the state by Marubeni could lead to the purchase of more lentils and peas or other alternative crops.

The Japanese company is looking to ship U.S. farm products to Asian markets.