USDA Settles a Case with Beken Livestock Inc. Resulting in a $6,000 Penalty

Date: 
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 11:30am
Contact Info: 

Release No.: 051-18

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2018 – On April 9, 2018, Beken Livestock Inc. (Beken), Weimar, Texas, waived its right to a hearing, entered into a stipulation agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and paid a civil penalty of $6,000 for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) investigation of Beken revealed 19 late payments for livestock from 5 markets dated up to 28 business days following the purchase of livestock, spanning March 27, 2017, through Oct. 3, 2017.  Beken has paid in full the amount owed to each market. Beken has also assured AMS that payment practices will abide by the P&S Act, and written credit agreements will be extended to markets.  Payment for all livestock is due before the close the business day following the purchase and trans­fer of possession of the livestock.  Failure to pay when due is a violation of Section 409(a) of the P&S Act.

The investigation also found Beken issued five NSF checks that were returned to the payees unpaid.  Dealers must have and maintain sufficient funds on deposit available in the account upon which checks are drawn to pay them when presented.  Any delay made by the dealer to the market’s normal period for collecting payment is an unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice and is a violation of Section 312(a) of the P&S Act.

The P&S Act, 1921, (7 U.S.C. § 181, et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties of not more than $11,000 per count against any person who violates the statute(s) cited above, after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record.

USDA enforcement rules provide a mechanism to quickly resolve violations of the P&S Act.  USDA may offer alleged violators the option of waiving their right to a hearing and entering 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.

For further information about the Packers and Stockyards Act, contact Brett Offutt, Fair Trade Practices Program, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (202) 720-7051, or by email at s.brett.offutt@ams.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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