23 March 2022, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entered into a stipulation agreement with The Thomasville Stockyard LLC (Thomasville) of Cairo, Ga., on March 3, 2022, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. Under the terms of the stipulation agreement, Thomasville waived its rights to a hearing and paid a civil penalty of $2,000.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) found that Thomasville failed to maintain its custodial account, resulting in a custodial shortage of $304,501 on Aug. 27, 2021, and a custodial shortage of $352,015 on Sept. 30, 2021.
A custodial account is a trust account designated for shippers’ proceeds from the sale of consigned livestock maintained for sellers. The custodial shortages resulted from the failure of Thomasville to reimburse the custodial account timely.
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. USDA may offer alleged violators the option of waiving their right to a hearing and enter into a stipulation agreement to quickly resolve alleged violations.
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.