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Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration dishes out penalties

Fines equal more than $18,000

By Diego Flammini,

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) handed out more than $18,000 in penalties to three agricultural operations across the country with one more still being investigated.

Each party violated or is alleged to have violated parts of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. The Act, according to Congress, is designed ''to assure fair competition and fair trade practices, to safeguard farmers and protect consumers...and to protect members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries from unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and monopolistic practices...''

More specifically, the Act performs a wide range of activities including monitoring market performance and ensuring accurate sales and weight of livestock, meat, and poultry.

GIPSA discovered that H&H Cattle Services, LLC, out of Scottsburg, Virginia failed to pay for livestock when due and issued checks with insufficient funds. H&H waived their right to a hearing, entered into a stipulation agreement and accepted to pay a $3,000 fine.

J2 Marketing, while conducting their business as J2 Cattle in Chandler, Arizona, agreed to pay $5,300 in fines after they failed to pay for livestock.

GIPSA alleges that Austen Farms from Omaha, Nebraska is currently buying and selling livestock without registering with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, issuing insufficiently funded checks, and failing to pay for livestock. If the allegations are true, Austen Farms could face civic penalties.

Lynchburg Livestock Market Inc., C. Matthew Fariss, and Duane D. Gilliam from Lynchburg, Virginia were given a cease and desist for failing to properly upkeep their custodial account, and selling livestock and failing to deliver the net proceeds within the determined time period. They’ve also been ordered to pay a $10,000 penalty.

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