USDA/AMS Press Release:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Chieftain Harvesting Inc., Salinas, Calif., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $1,465,307 to four sellers for 510 lots of produce. This is in violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). As a result of these actions, Chieftain Harvesting Inc. cannot operate in the produce industry until May 23, 2018, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The company’s principals, Joseph G. Esquivel and David G. Mills, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until May 23, 2017, 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. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA. PACA establishes a code of good business conduct for the produce industry. Under it, all interstate traders in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables must be licensed by USDA. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a trader’s license for violating the act.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Our experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information, contact Josephine E. Jenkins, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, or by email at PACAInvestigations@ams.usda.gov.
Contact Info: Nadine Wilkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-720-8998
Release No.: 115-16
For more PACA violations reported by Blue Book Services: #PACAViolations