Release No.: 008-20
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on Nov. 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reached a consent decision against Cow House and Raymond L. Hatch (Hatch) of Fruitland, N.M., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service resulted in the issuance of an administrative complaint on May 7, 2019, against Cow House, and its owner/manager, Hatch, for failure to properly use and maintain its custodial account. This resulted in custodial account shortages of $12,708 on Dec. 31, 2014; $11,353 on Jan. 30, 2015; $61,660 on Feb. 28, 2018; and $74,518 on Apr. 17, 2018. The shortages in Cow House’s custodial account were due, in part, to failure to deposit the proceeds from sales of consigned livestock within the required period of time prescribed by the P&S Act regulations. Due to the custodial account shortages, Cow House was also in violation of two prior Secretary’s Orders, issued April 10, 2012, and July 1, 2014, to cease and desist from failing to properly maintain and use its custodial account.
Under the consent decision, Cow House and Hatch were jointly assessed a civil penalty of $20,000 and were suspended for a period of 50 days and thereafter until Cow House demonstrates that the shortages in the custodial account have been eliminated.
In addition, Cow House and Hatch, including its agents and employees, must cease and desist from engaging in deceptive and unfair practices, and maintain its custodial account in strict conformity with the Act.
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 P&S Act, contact Stuart Frank, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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