Citing the "extremely troubling precedent" being set, 22 national, regional and state agricultural producer, commodity and agribusiness organizations have urged the
In a recent letter to Secretary of Agriculture
Several of the organizations had met last October with GIPSA Administrator
"To our knowledge, this latest announcement by a designated state agency declining to provide official services is unprecedented," the groups wrote in their letter to Vilsack. "We believe WSDA's actions create an extremely troubling precedent that will cause irreparable damage to the integrity and reliability of the nation's official grain inspection system."
The organizations also cited the "uncertainty" already created within the U.S. grain export industry, as well as among U.S. agricultural producers and international buyers of U.S. commodities, regarding potential future disruptions of official services at facilities operating at other U.S. export ports. "The disruptions that already have occurred have put at risk
Federal law prohibits the export of U.S. grains and oilseeds unless officially inspected and weighed by official personnel in accordance with the U.S. grain standards. In addition, such exports are required to be accompanied by official certificates showing the official grade designation and certified weight, unless the requirement is waived by the secretary of agriculture and the grain is not sold or exported by grade. Under the U.S. Grain Standards Act,
"To this point, confidence that the U.S. official grain inspection system will function in a continuous and consistent manner - and not be subject to unwarranted disruptions - has been instrumental in facilitating the ability of U.S. farmers and agribusinesses to reliably serve foreign customers and remain competitive in world markets," the groups wrote in the letter to Vilsack, adding that the system has been a model of integrity. "But the recent decision by WSDA and the subsequent inaction to this point of FGIS to fulfill its (statutory) mandate to provide official inspection services risks sullying that hard-earned reputation, to the long-lasting detriment of U.S. agriculture. It also sends a dangerous signal to any third-party that might wish to disrupt U.S. grain export trade."
National organizations signing the letter to Vilsack were:
State and regional organizations signing the letter were: Idaho Grain Producers,
To read the entire letter, click here: http://www.ngfa.org/wp-content/uploads/Joint-Stakeholder-Letter-to-Secretary-Vilsack-on-Disruption-of-Official-Inspection-Services-July-14-2014.pdf.
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