08 March 2021, Washington: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against Gregg Ebner Jr. (Ebner), Wichita Falls, Texas, on Feb. 15, 2021, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed that between May 2019 and July 2019, Ebner engaged in the business of a market agency, buying livestock on commission without obtaining the necessary bond coverage as required by the Act and Regulations. Ebner was found purchasing 709 head of livestock from one livestock seller in the amount of $488,940 as a market agency buying livestock on commission.
The P&S Act requires subject entities, such as marketing agencies, to obtain and maintain an adequate bond or bond equivalent. Failure to obtain and maintain an adequate bond is an unfair trade practice and a violation of the P&S Act.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $29,270 per violation against any person after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in a hearing, Ebner may be ordered to cease and desist from continuing violations of the P&S Act and may be assessed a civil penalty.
The P&S Act is a fair-trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.