As we each work diligently within our respective operations to adopt new technologies and enhance best practices to make our lives easier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been focused with the same approach in mind. With that being said, USDA has recently announced that the Specialty Crop Program will be raising inspection fees effective October 1, 2019, as it transforms into a more data-driven, customer-focused organization.

Bryan Nickerson

As the saying goes, “Timing is everything” and that continues to ring true within your ability to quickly identify and pursue a claim against your buyer. The timing to commence a potential claim is not debatable; it should be when you first become aware of a problem with a shipment. It could be either a potential truck claim or dispute with a customer, whichever the case, the situation needs to be addressed immediately and memorialized through documentation. This may be accomplished by merely documenting a telephone conversation by sending a timely email to confirm your position.

Bryan Nickerson

“I have a number of loads to ship in the coming week(s) with confirmed prices and P.O. numbers exchanged, however, due to the weather conditions I do not have product available to fulfill my commitment with the buyer. The buyer is threatening to buy against my account if I don’t supply him with the product which has already been confirmed. What should I do now?”

Bryan Nickerson

Rejections at destination are inevitable, and the issues surrounding them are never pleasant. So you need to be prepared to take the emotion out of the situation, have your product moved in a timely manner and have it sold for the account of whom it may concern to maximize the return and protect your rights for filing a future claim with complete documentation.

Bryan Nickerson

Here at Western Growers Trade Practices, we encourage shippers to embrace a culture of best practices by putting in place every day procedures and protocols. As part of that mantra, we preach to document, document, and document. As a shipper, we know you strive every day to fulfill your customers’ expectations, on every sales transaction. Because occasional disputes at destination can arise on a perishable sales transaction, most of those contested matters have at the center of the issue, a question related to pulp temperatures at origin, in-transit temperatures, or at destination.

Bryan Nickerson

By only taking a quick cursory review of the USDA inspection, a shipper may miss the full story as to whether there was an actual breach of contract (failure to meet good delivery). You must remember that a USDA certificate may in most circumstances reflect that the commodity failed to grade U.S. No. 1, but that does not mean the shipper failed to meet the terms of the negotiated sales contract under a “NO GRADE CONTRACT”.

Bryan Nickerson

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Produce Insights

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