Gipsa Scale Regulations 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

must check the zero balance of the scale or reweigh a livestock draft when requested by such persons.

Registrants, packers, and the weighers they employ must comply with a request by any authorized P&SP agent to reweigh livestock or livestock carcasses, so P&SP can determine if the weights recorded by the scale are accurate. False weighing is a criminal offense. Legal action may be brought if incorrect weighing is found.

GIPSA (Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration (sometimes referred to as P&S) requires Market Agencies (such as Superior Livestock Auction), Dealers (order buyers), Livestock Markets (stockyards, livestock auctions) and Packers to weigh livestock and/or grain on scales that have been tested and certified within six months prior to use. They also require that complete weighing records are maintained and on file. All video/internet auctions, dealers, order buyers, sale barns, packers, grain dealers, et al. are regulated by GIPSA (P&S) and all are required to comply with GIPSA regulations.

Most states also have regulations with regard to scales used for commerce and the majority of the states require that scales be tested and certified annually; however, federal regulations override the state regulations on this issue and failure to comply with the GIPSA regulations can result in the assessment of significant fines. Marketing Agencies, Dealers, Livestock Markets, Packers, etc. have no control over this. All cattle that are weighed must be weighed on scales that have been tested and certified within six months of weighing. Communication with the rancher or seller about the scale issue is critical. If the scale they plan to weigh on is not compliant, a compliant scale should be located, or make arrangements to have it tested and certified prior to the delivery of cattle. Contact other people in the livestock industry in your area and work together to help ranchers, co-ops, truck scales, etc. become compliant with GIPSA regulations. This may require financial assistance on your part, but it may be necessary so as to avoid being assessed with fines and other penalties from GIPSA. This applies to everyone in the industry that weighs livestock or grain for commerce. The following update and clarification on the scale regulation specific to seasonal scales was released recently by GIPSA. The information can be accessed via the web at the following websites:Clarification Statement, Federal Register Notice. Below is the statement from the GIPSA website and following that is the notice from the Federal Register. P&SP’s mission in the area of accurate weights consists of two elements that affect the integrity of livestock and poultry transactions: (1) the accuracy of the scales used for weighing livestock, meat, and poultry, and (2) the proper and honest operation of scales to ensure that the weight on which a transaction is based is accurate. The major emphases in the enforcement of this program are the monitoring of scale tests and the detection of improper and fraudulent use of subject scales. Scale Testing Requirements Stockyard owners, market agencies, dealers (including video auctions), packers, or live poultry dealers that weigh livestock, live poultry, or feed, must have their scales tested at least twice each calendar year (section 201.72(a) (9 CFR 201.72(a)). This requirement for twice a year testing also applies to swine contractors and has been in place in some form since September 24, 1984 (49 FR 37374). On January 20, 2011, GIPSA published a rule (76 FR 3485) to better define scale testing requirements. This new rule specifies that one of the two scale tests must occur between January 1 and June 30 of the calendar year and the second must occur between July 1 and December 31 of the calendar year. A minimum of 120 days is required between these two tests. More frequent testing is required for scales that do not maintain accuracy between tests. Example (for a scale used throughout the year): A scale is tested for the first time in 2011 on April 15, meeting the requirement of a test between January 1 and June 30. The second test needs to be between July 1 and December 31 and more than 120 days after the first test or in this case August 13, 2011. So the second test must occur between August 13 and December 31, 2011. In this new rule, GIPSA has provided an exception for the testing of scales used on a limited seasonal basis, which we have recently clarified A seasonal scale is one used during any continuous 6-month period.

GIPSA requires that seasonal scales be tested once during the calendar year and that the test have been conducted within 6 months prior to its use. Example (seasonal): If a scale is tested on April 15, that test is valid until October 15 and you can use the scale throughout that period. If you want to use the scale after October 15, you would need to have another test conducted and the scale would no longer be considered a seasonal scale for that year.

Instructions for Testing Livestock and Animal Scales Regulations(read more) issued under authority of the P&S Act require that persons weighing livestock and live poultry for purposes of purchase or sale under the P&S Act perform their duties in accordance with official instructions.

Responsibility for Accurate Scales and Livestock Weights, What are the Penalties for Violations under the P&S Act? Administrative and civil penalties for violations of the P&S Act include cease and desist orders, civil penalties not more than $11,000 for each violation, and suspensions of registrations under the P&S Act. Any person found guilty of any of the following criminal offenses against the United States is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both: Makes false entries in records or accounts; Neglects to make true; correct entries; Mutilates, alters, or falsifies any documentary evidence required to be kept; Refuses to allow inspection of records by
authorized agents.

Weighers, who willfully print or enter a false weight on a scale ticket or other record of a registrant or packer, are subject to the penalties under the P&S Act.

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