United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Nov 17, 2019

§ 79.
Official inspection
(a)
Grain required to be officially inspected

The Secretary is authorized to cause official inspection under the standards provided for in section 76 of this title to be made of all grain required to be officially inspected as provided in section 77 of this title, in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.

(b)
Inspections made pursuant to request of interested persons

The Secretary is further authorized, upon request of any interested person, and under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, to cause official inspection to be made with respect to any grain whether by official sample, submitted sample, or otherwise within the United States under standards provided for in section 76 of this title, or, upon request of the interested person, under other criteria approved by the Secretary for determining the kind, class, quality, or condition of grain, or other facts relating to grain, whenever in the judgment of the Secretary providing such service will effectuate any of the objectives stated in section 74 of this title.

(c)
Reinspections and appeals; cancellation of superseded certificates; sale of samples

The regulations prescribed by the Secretary under this chapter shall include provisions for reinspections and appeal inspections; cancellation and surrender of certificates superseded by reinspections and appeal inspections; and the use of standard forms for official certificates. The Secretary may provide by regulation that samples obtained by or for employees of the Secretary for purposes of official inspection shall become the property of the United States, and such samples may be disposed of without regard to the provisions of chapters 1 to 11 of title 40 and division C (except sections 3302, 3307(e), 3501(b), 3509, 3906, 4710, and 4711) of subtitle I of title 41.

(d)
Official certificates as evidence

Official certificates setting out the results of official inspection issued and not canceled under this chapter shall be received by all officers and all courts of the United States as prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts stated therein.

(e)
Official inspection at export port locations; delegation of authority to State agencies
(1)
Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Secretary shall cause official inspection at export port locations, for all grain required or authorized to be inspected by this chapter, to be performed by official inspection personnel employed by the Secretary or other persons under contract with the Secretary as provided in section 84 of this title.
(2)
Delegation of authority to state agencies.—
(A)
In general.—
If the Secretary determines, pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, that a State agency is qualified to perform official inspection, meets the criteria in subsection (f)(1)(A) of this section, and (i) was performing official inspection at an export port location under this chapter on July 1, 1976, or (ii)(I) performed official inspection at an export port location at any time prior to July 1, 1976, (II) was designated under subsection (f) of this section on December 22, 1982, to perform official inspections at locations other than export port locations, and (III) operates in a State from which total annual exports of grain do not exceed, as determined by the Secretary, 5 per centum of the total amount of grain exported from the United States annually, the Secretary may delegate authority to the State agency to perform all or specified functions involved in official inspection (other than appeal inspection) at export port locations within the State, including export port locations which may in the future be established, subject to such rules, regulations, instructions, and oversight as the Secretary may prescribe, and any such official inspection shall continue to be the direct responsibility of the Secretary. Any such delegation may be revoked by the Secretary, at the discretion of the Secretary, at any time upon notice to the State agency without opportunity for a hearing.
(B)
Certification.—
(i)
In general.—
Every 5 years, the Secretary shall certify that each State agency with a delegation of authority is meeting the criteria described in subsection (f)(1)(A).
(ii)
Process.—
Not later than 1 year after September 30, 2015, the Secretary shall establish a process for certification under which the Secretary shall—
(I)
publish in the Federal Register notice of intent to certify a State agency and provide a 30-day period for public comment;
(II)
evaluate the public comments received and, in accordance with paragraph (3), conduct an investigation to determine whether the State agency is qualified;
(III)
make findings based on the public comments received and investigation conducted; and
(IV)
publish in the Federal Register a notice announcing whether the certification has been granted and describing the basis on which the Secretary made the decision.
(C)
State agency requirements.—
(i)
In general.—
If a State agency that has been delegated authority under this paragraph intends to temporarily discontinue official inspection or weighing services for any reason, except in the case of a major disaster, the State agency shall notify the Secretary in writing of the intention of the State agency to do so at least 72 hours in advance of the discontinuation date.
(ii)
Secretarial consideration.—
The Secretary shall consider receipt of a notice described in clause (i) as a factor in administering the delegation of authority under this paragraph.
(3)
Prior to delegating authority to a State agency for the performance of official inspection at export port locations pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Secretary shall (A) conduct an investigation to determine whether such agency is qualified, and (B) make findings based on such investigation. In conducting the investigation, the Secretary shall consult with, and review the available files of the Department of Justice, the Office of Investigation of the Department of Agriculture (or such other organization or agency within the Department of Agriculture which may be delegated the authority, in lieu thereof, to conduct investigations on behalf of the Department of Agriculture), and the Government Accountability Office.
(4)
The Secretary may provide that grain loaded at an interior point in the United States into a rail car, barge, or other container as the final carrier in which it is to be transported from the United States shall be inspected in the manner provided in this subsection or subsection (f) of this section, as the Secretary determines will best meet the objectives of this chapter.
(f)
Official inspections at other than export port locations; designation of agencies or persons to conduct official inspections
(1)
With respect to official inspections other than at export port locations, the Secretary is authorized, upon application by any State or local governmental agency, or any person, to designate such agency or person as an official agency for the conduct of all or specified functions involved in official inspection (other than appeal inspection) at locations where the Secretary determines official inspection is needed, if—
(A)
the agency or person shows to the satisfaction of the Secretary that such agency or person—
(i)
has adequate facilities and qualified personnel for the performance of such official inspection functions;
(ii)
will provide for the periodic rotation of official inspection personnel among the grain elevators, warehouses, or other storage or handling facilities at which the State or person provides official inspection, as is necessary to preserve the integrity of the official inspection service;
(iii)
will meet training requirements and personnel standards established by the Secretary under section 84(g) of this title;
(iv)
will otherwise conduct such training and provide such supervision of its personnel as are necessary to assure that they will provide official inspection in accordance with this chapter and the regulations and instructions thereunder;
(v)
will not charge official inspection fees that are discriminatory or unreasonable;
(vi)
if a State or local governmental agency, will not use any moneys collected pursuant to the charging of fees for any purpose other than the maintenance of the official inspection operation of the State or local governmental agency;
(vii)
and any related entities do not have a conflict of interest prohibited by section 87 of this title;
(viii)
will maintain complete and accurate records of its organization, staffing, official activities, and fiscal operations, and such other records as the Secretary may require by regulation;
(ix)
if a State or local governmental agency, will employ personnel on the basis of job qualifications rather than political affiliations;
(x)
will comply with all provisions of this chapter and the regulations and instructions thereunder; and
(xi)
meets other criteria established in regulations issued under this chapter relating to official functions under this chapter;
(B)
the Secretary determines that the applicant is better able than any other applicant to provide official inspection service; and
(C)
the Secretary—
(i)
periodically conducts a consultation with the customers of the applicant, in a manner that provides opportunity for protection of the identity of the customer if desired by the customer, to review the performance of the applicant with regard to the provision of official inspection services and other requirements of this chapter; and
(ii)
works with the applicant to address any concerns identified during the consultation process.
(2)
Geographic boundaries for official agencies.—
(A)
In general.—
Subject to subparagraph (B), not more than one official agency designated under paragraph (1) or State delegated authority under subsection (e)(2) to carry out the inspection provisions of this chapter shall be operative at the same time in any geographic area defined by the Secretary.
(B)
Exceptions.—
Subject to subsection (g)(4)(A), if the Secretary determines that the presence of more than one designated official agency in the same geographic area will not undermine the policy stated in section 74 of this title, the Secretary shall allow a designated official agency to cross boundary lines to carry out inspections in another geographic area if—
(i)
the current designated official agency for that geographic area is unable to provide inspection services in a timely manner;
(ii)
a person requesting inspection services in that geographic area has not been receiving official inspection services from the current designated official agency for that geographic area;
(iii)
a person requesting inspection services in that geographic area requests a probe inspection on a barge-lot basis; or
(iv)
the current official agency for that geographic area agrees in writing with the adjacent official agency to waive the current geographic area restriction at the request of the applicant for service.
(C)
Termination of nonuse of service exception.—
The exception under subparagraph (B)(ii) may only be terminated if all parties to that exception jointly agree on the termination, unless terminated according to subsection (g)(4)(A).
(D)
Restoration of certain exceptions.—
(i)
Definition of eligible grain handling facility.—
In this subparagraph, the term “eligible grain handling facility” means a grain handling facility that—
(I)
was granted an exception under the final rule entitled “Exceptions to Geographic Areas for Official Agencies Under the USGSA” (68 Fed. Reg. 19137 (April 18, 2003)); and
(II)
had that exception revoked between September 30, 2015, and December 20, 2018.
(ii)
Restoration of exceptions.—
Within 90 days of notification from an eligible grain handling facility, the Secretary shall restore an exception described in clause (i)(I) with an official agency if—
(I)
the eligible grain handling facility and the former excepted official agency agree to restore that exception; and
(II)
the eligible grain handling facility notifies the Secretary of the preferred date for restoration of the exception within 90 days of December 20, 2018.
(3)
Except as authorized by the Secretary, no official agency or State delegated authority pursuant to subsection (e)(2) of this section shall officially inspect under this chapter any official or other sample drawn from a lot of grain and submitted for inspection unless such lot of grain is physically located within the geographic area assigned to the agency by the Secretary at the time such sample is drawn.
(4)
No State or local governmental agency or person shall provide any official inspection for the purposes of this chapter except pursuant to an unsuspended and unrevoked delegation of authority or designation by the Secretary, as provided in this section, or as provided in section 84(a) of this title.
(g)
Termination, renewal, amendment, cancellation, and revocation of designations of official agencies
(1)
Designations of official agencies shall terminate at such time as specified by the Secretary but not later than every 5 years and may be renewed in accordance with the criteria and procedure prescribed in subsection (f) of this section.
(2)
A designation of an official agency may be amended at any time upon application by the official agency if the Secretary determines that the amendment will be consistent with the provisions and objectives of this chapter; and a designation will be cancelled upon request by the official agency with ninety days written notice to the Secretary. A fee as prescribed by regulations of the Secretary shall be paid by the official agency to the Secretary for each such amendment, to cover the costs incurred by the Secretary in connection therewith, and it shall be deposited in the fund created in subsection (j) of this section.
(3)
The Secretary may revoke a designation of an official agency whenever, after opportunity for hearing is afforded the agency, the Secretary determines that the agency has failed to meet one or more of the criteria specified in subsection (f) of this section or the regulations under this chapter for the performance of official functions, or otherwise has not complied with any provision of this chapter or any regulation prescribed or instruction issued to such agency under this chapter, or has been convicted of any violation of other Federal law involving the handling or official inspection of grain: Provided, That the Secretary may, without first affording the official agency an opportunity for a hearing, suspend any designation pending final determination of the proceeding whenever the Secretary has reason to believe there is cause for revocation of the designation and considers such action to be in the best interest of the official inspection system under this chapter. The Secretary shall afford any such agency an opportunity for a hearing within thirty days after temporarily suspending such designation.
(4)
Effect on exceptions.—
(A)
In general.—
The exceptions under clauses (ii) and (iv) of subsection (f)(2)(B) shall not apply if the designation of an official agency is terminated, pursuant to paragraph (1).
(B)
Designation renewed or restored.—
If the designation of an official agency is renewed or restored after being terminated under paragraph (1), the Secretary may renew or restore the exceptions under subsection (f)(2)(B) in accordance with that subsection.
(h)
Official inspections at locations other than export port locations when designated official agencies are not available

If the Secretary determines that official inspection by an official agency designated under subsection (f) of this section is not available on a regular basis at any location (other than at an export port location) where the Secretary determines such inspection is needed to effectuate the objectives stated in section 74 of this title, and that no official agency within reasonable proximity to such location is willing to provide or has or can acquire adequate personnel and facilities for providing such service on an interim basis, official inspection shall be provided by authorized employees of the Secretary, and other persons licensed by the Secretary to perform official inspection functions, as provided in section 84 of this title, until such time as the service can be provided on a regular basis by an official agency.

(i)
Official inspections in Canadian ports

The Secretary is authorized to cause official inspection under this chapter to be made, as provided in subsection (a) of section 77 of this title, in Canadian ports of United States export grain transshipped through Canadian ports, and pursuant thereto the Secretary is authorized to enter into an agreement with the Canadian Government for such inspection. All or specified functions of such inspections shall be performed by official inspection personnel employed by the Secretary or, except for appeals, by persons operating under a contract with the Secretary or as otherwise provided by agreement with the Canadian Government.

(j)
Fees
(1)
Inspection fees.—
(A)
In general.—
The Secretary shall, under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, charge and collect reasonable inspection fees to cover the estimated cost to the Secretary incident to the performance of official inspection except when the official inspection is performed by a designated official agency or by a State under a delegation of authority.
(B)
Amount of fees.—
The fees authorized by this subsection shall, as nearly as practicable and after taking into consideration any proceeds from the sale of samples, cover the costs of the Secretary incident to its 1
1
 So in original. Probably should be “the Secretary’s”.
performance of official inspection services in the United States and on United States grain in Canadian ports, including administrative and supervisory costs related to such official inspection of grain.
(C)
Use of fees.—
Fees described in this paragraph, and the proceeds from the sale of samples obtained for purposes of official inspection which become the property of the United States, shall be deposited into a fund which shall be available without fiscal year limitation for the expenses of the Secretary incident to providing services under this chapter.
(D)
Export tonnage fees.—
For an official inspection at an export facility performed by the Secretary, the portion of the fees based on export tonnage shall be based on the rolling 5-year average of export tonnage volumes.
(2)
Each designated official agency and each State agency to which authority has been delegated under subsection (e) of this section shall pay to the Secretary fees in such amount as the Secretary determines fair and reasonable and as will cover the estimated costs incurred by the Secretary relating to supervision of official agency personnel and supervision by the Secretary of the Secretary’s field office personnel, except costs incurred under paragraph (3) of subsection (g) of this section and sections 85, 86, and 87c of this title. The fees shall be payable after the services are performed at such times as specified by the Secretary and shall be deposited in the fund created in paragraph (1) of this subsection. Failure to pay the fee within thirty days after it is due shall result in automatic termination of the delegation or designation, which shall be reinstated upon payment, within such period as specified by the Secretary, of the fee currently due plus interest and any further expenses incurred by the Secretary because of such termination. The interest rate on overdue fees shall be as prescri
(3)
Any sums collected or received by the Secretary under this chapter and deposited to the fund created in paragraph (1) of this subsection and any late payment penalties collected by the Secretary and credited to such fund may be invested by the Secretary in insured or fully collateralized, interest-bearing accounts or, at the discretion of the Secretary, by the Secretary of the Treasury in United States Government debt instruments. The interest earned on such sums and any late payment penalties collected by the Secretary shall be credited to the fund and shall be available without fiscal year limitation for the expenses of the Secretary incident to providing services under this chapter.
(4)
Adjustment of fees.—
In order to maintain an operating reserve of not less than 3 and not more than 6 months, the Secretary shall adjust the fees described in paragraphs (1) and (2) not less frequently than annually.
(5)
The duties imposed by paragraph (2) on designated official agencies and State agencies described in such paragraph and the investment authority provided by paragraph (3) shall expire on September 30, 2020. After that date, the fees established by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not cover administrative and supervisory costs related to the official inspection of grain.
(Aug. 11, 1916, ch. 313, pt. B, § 7, 39 Stat. 484; Pub. L. 90–487, § 1, Aug. 15, 1968, 82 Stat. 763; Pub. L. 94–582, § 8, formerly § 8(a), Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2870, renumbered Pub. L. 106–472, title I, § 110(a)(1), Nov. 9, 2000, 114 Stat. 2060; Pub. L. 95–113, title XVI, §§ 1602(a), 1604(d), 1606(d), Sept. 29, 1977, 91 Stat. 1025, 1027, 1030; Pub. L. 97–35, title I, § 155(1), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 371; Pub. L. 97–98, title IX, § 1113(a), Dec. 22, 1981, 95 Stat. 1268; Pub. L. 98–469, § 2(1), Oct. 11, 1984, 98 Stat. 1831; Pub. L. 100–518, § 2(1), Oct. 24, 1988, 102 Stat. 2584; Pub. L. 103–156, §§ 4(a), 5(a), 12(d), 14(a), Nov. 24, 1993, 107 Stat. 1525, 1526, 1528, 1529; Pub. L. 103–354, title II, § 293(a)(4), (7), (8), Oct. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 3237; Pub. L. 106–472, title I, §§ 102(a), 103(a), Nov. 9, 2000, 114 Stat. 2059, 2060; Pub. L. 108–271, § 8(b), July 7, 2004, 118 Stat. 814; Pub. L. 109–83, § 1(a), Sept. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2053; Pub. L. 114–54, title III, § 301(b)(1)–(3)(A), (4), (5), Sept. 30, 2015, 129 Stat. 517, 518; Pub. L. 115–334, title XII, § 12610(a), (c), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 5011, 5013.)
cite as: 7 USC 79