Release No.: 109-18
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entered into a consent decision with Low Country Livestock Exchange LLC (Low Country), Blackstock, S.C., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) conducted an investigation that revealed shortages in Low Country’s custodial account of $84,104 on July 29, 2016, and $83,539 on September 16, 2016. A custodial account is a trust account that is a separate bank account designated for shippers’ proceeds. Operating with custodial account shortages is a violation of the P&S Act and places livestock sellers at risk of not being paid timely or at all.
Low Country agreed on Aug. 2, 2018, to pay a civil penalty of $2,000 and entered into a suspension period of seven days, and continuing until the custodial account shortage and solvency is corrected. Low Country will remain under close monitoring by AMS during that time.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties of not more than $28,061 per count against any person who violates the law, after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record.
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, Fair Trade Practices Program, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at Stuart.Frank@usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender
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