USDA/AMS Press Release:
Release No.: 217-14
Contact: Nadine Wilkins, (202) 720-8998, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Snokist Growers, of Yakima, Wash., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $696,853 to eight sellers for 402 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Snokist Growers cannot operate in the produce industry until July 25, 2016, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principals, Belinda Cole, Jim Davis, Kailan Dunn, and Dave Olsen, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until July 25, 2015, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors, or major stockholders may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce companies operating subject to PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a company’s license for violations of PACA. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 4,600 claims filed under PACA involving more than $87 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information, contact Josephine E. Jenkins, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, by fax at (202) 720-8868, or by email at InvestigativeEnforcement@ams.usda.gov.