Congress intervenes in elevator rule change

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WASHINGTON – Federally licensed grain elevators will continue to operate under current U.S. Warehouse Act provisions.

A measure within the omnibus appropriations bill, signed Feb. 20, creates a six-month delay in changes the USDA was preparing to make to the act.

The USDA changes challenged states’ authority of federally licensed warehouses, a move vigorously opposed by states where strong state licensing programs and grain indemnity programs are in place, such as Ohio.

No money for staffing. Congress adopted an amendment prohibiting the USDA from funding personnel “to amend the terms of licensing agreements for a grain warehouse.” The amendment effectively delays any action in the federal grain warehouse program for six months

Further, the agency is not allowed to issue a new federal grain warehouse license to facilities that hold a state license as of Feb. 20.

Old standards apply. The legislation does not preclude USDA from issuing a federal license to new or existing warehouse operations that currently are not licensed. However, new licenses issued to such warehouses would be based upon the licensing agreement in effect prior to the federal warehouse program changes USDA announced Feb. 5.

The legislation also continues to allow existing federal warehouses to amend their existing licenses to add or remove storage capacity.

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