The Grain Grading Act in Arkansas set a standard for grading
By Diego Flammini
As U.S. farmers are harvesting their crops, ag representatives from at least one state are reminding producers about a law offering protection for their grain.
In Arkansas, the Grain Grading Act, which went into effect in September 2019, sets out that all grain grading must be conducted according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Official United States Standards for Grain Handbook.
“It was established to bring consistency to grain grading,” Mike Stage, quality control and compliance section head with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, told Farms.com. “The department received complaints about farmers going to one warehouse to get a grade and going to a different warehouse up the road and getting a different grade. We even heard of farmers going through the warehouse line twice and getting two different grades from the same place.”
These inconsistencies resulted in lost revenue for farmers.
Many of the warehouses in Arkansas already exceed minimum standards, Stage said, but the law provides farmers with confidence their grain is being graded properly.
“I’ve been talking to farmers who have said the warehouse found 3 percent of damage in the crop,” Stage said. “That can add up to a loss of around $120 per acre.”
Data from the USDA shows the average farm size in Arkansas was about 333 acres.
This means with 3 percent damage applied to a crop, a farmer could lose nearly $40,000.
“When you’re talking about potentially losing tens of thousands of dollars, you want to be sure everything is consistent and everything is being done properly across the board,” Stage said. “Especially this year when everything is already so expensive.”
Farmers who do want to dispute a grain grade may want to begin the process once they receive the grade from the warehouse.
Under the law, warehouses must keep any sample that received more than a 4 percent reduction for two days.
“A lot of farmers will wait before disputing the grade but the time to do it is as soon as the load arrives at the warehouse, Stage said. “If the third-party grain sample comes back that the warehouse’s grain sample was incorrect, the farmer will be reimbursed the difference in what they should’ve been paid for the grain. With what it costs to receive a grain grade compared to the amount of money a producer could lose out on, it’s important to act quickly.”