WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2021 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on Oct. 25, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entered into a stipulation agreement with Durant Stockyards LLC (Durant Stockyards) of Durant, Okla., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act. Under the terms of the stipulation agreement, Durant Stockyards waived its right to a hearing and paid a penalty of $7,500.
An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) revealed that Durant Stockyards failed to maintain its custodial account, resulting in custodial shortages of $277,528 on Nov. 29, 2020, $68,130 on Dec. 31, 2020 and $155,145 on March 21, 2021.
A custodial account is a trust account designated for shippers’ proceeds from the sale of livestock in trust for sellers. 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.
The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $29,270 per violation against any person after notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. USDA may offer alleged violators the option of waiving their right to a hearing and enter 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 Kraig Roesch, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (303) 375-4291, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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