USDA Issues Packers and Stockyards Complaint Against John P. Horton

Date: 
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 12:30pm
Contact Info: 

Release No.: 135-19

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on Oct. 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against John P. Horton (Horton) of Gravette, Ark., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed that from March 2017 through August 2017, Horton failed to pay timely for livestock purchases totaling $346,568. The investigation also revealed that Horton issued three (3) checks for livestock purchases totaling $34,649 without sufficient funds in its bank account to support the payment of those checks.

The P&S Act requires subject entities to issue the full payment for livestock by the close of the first business day following purchase and transfer of possession. Failure to timely pay for livestock purchases and issuing financial instruments without sufficient funds for purchases is an unfair trade practice and a violation of the P&S Act.

Horton will have 20 calendar days following receipt of the complaint to respond directly to the USDA Administrative Law Judge or be found in violation and subject to penalty.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $11,000 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Horton may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and 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.

For further information about the Packers and Stockyards Act, contact Stuart Frank, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at stuart.frank@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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