30 December 2022, New Delhi: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entered into a stipulation agreement with Anderson County Livestock Exchange, LLC., (ACLE), Texas, on Dec. 19, 2022, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. Under the terms of the stipulation, ACLE waived its rights to a hearing and paid a penalty of $4,000.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed that ACLE had custodial account shortages on Nov. 12, 2021, and Dec. 21, 2021, of $374,960 and $382,140, respectively. Both custodial account shortages occurred because ACLE failed to reimburse the custodial account timely for receivables.
A custodial account is a trust account designated for shippers’ proceeds from the sale of livestock in trust for sellers. Failure to reimburse the custodial account timely is a violation of the Packers & Stockyards Act and regulations.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $31,459 per violation against any person after notice and opportunity for a 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 resolve alleged violations quickly.
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.
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