June 15, 2015
Farmers who sell to commodity dealers sometimes find themselves on the short end of the deal and when that buyer is unlicensed there's little recourse. The Washington State Department of Agriculture is ramping up enforcement with a special effort this summer. WSDA is working to combat that type of fraud and level the playing field between buyer and seller.
No matter what you sell in Washington make sure the buyer has the proper license. WSDA is ramping up enforcement for 2015.
From June through September, WSDA investigators will visit roadside produce stands to ensure sellers are properly licensed. The program will also set up checkpoints throughout this summer along U.S. 12 and other highways to ensure vehicles transporting ag products are licensed and carrying required inspection, animal health and ownership documents.
In Washington, anyone buying ag commodities including produce, seeds, hay and livestock for resale must have a WSDA license. A key provision of the license is that the dealer be bonded, providing farmers added protection.
Growers can visit agr.wa.gov/Inspection/CommissionMerchants to review the lists of properly licensed dealers. Farmers are encouraged to check whether the dealer they plan to do business with is licensed before entering into an agreement or giving possession of their crops. "If producers have a complaint they should contact us as soon as possible," says Jerry Buendel, program manager for Agricultural Investigations. "During this enforcement emphasis, our investigators will work to bring dealers into compliance by having them licensed and bonded."
The state licenses about 750 commission merchants, dealers, brokers and cash buyers of ag commodities.
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