April 27, 2007
April 27, 2007 - USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) published in the Federal Register
changes to the rules of practice governing proceedings under the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. The changes will allow GIPSA and persons alleged to have violated the P&S Act to settle cases in a more timely and less costly manner than previous procedures. It also provides GIPSA with another enforcement tool to obtain compliance in lieu of letters and warnings.
Under the new rules, GIPSA has the option to offer a stipulation agreement to persons believed to be operating in violation of the P&S Act. The stipulation agreement gives notice that certain conduct discovered by GIPSA violates the P&S Act and allows the alleged violator an opportunity to voluntarily pay a specified penalty to resolve the case.
The P&S Act provides for civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each violation a person commits. By agreeing to settle cases by stipulation, alleged violators will have the opportunity to pay a civil penalty less than would be imposed if GIPSA were to file a formal administrative complaint.
The change in the rules of practice takes effect immediately. If a person alleged to have violated the P&S Act chooses not to agree and pay the stipulation penalty, GIPSA will proceed with the filing of an administrative complaint and seek a higher penalty.
The Federal Register
posting can be found at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-7041.htm