USDA Determines Individual Not Responsibly Connected to South Carolina Violator

Date: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 4:00pm
Contact Info: 

Release No.: 154-19

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that Michael C. Harris was not responsibly connected to Sandifer Farms LLC, Blackville, S.C. This is an update to Press Release No: 131-19 issued on Oct. 15, 2019.

Sandifer Farms LLC violated the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) by failing to pay a reparation award totaling $172,156 in favor of a Florida seller. As a result, USDA imposed sanctions on the business, including requiring that all principals may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA approval.

USDA made an initial determination that Michael C. Harris was responsibly connected to Sandifer Farms LLC, and subject to sanction. Michael C. Harris contested this initial determination and USDA has now determined that Michael C. Harris was not responsibly connected to Sandifer Farms LLC at the time of the violation.

As a result, Michael C. Harris may be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

The PACA Division, which is in the Fair Trade Practices Program in the Agricultural Marketing Service, regulates fair trading practices of produce businesses that are operating subject to PACA, including buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry.

In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. PACA staff also assisted more than 7,800 callers with issues valued at approximately $148 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.

For further information, contact Travis M. Hubbs, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, or by email at PACAInvestigations@ usda.gov.

Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at www.ams.usda.gov/news or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

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