USDA issues complaints against area operations

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

Keith Jensen, d.b.a. Keith Jensen Livestock

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on July 19, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against Keith Jensen, doing business as Keith Jensen Livestock (Keith Jensen Livestock) of South Dakota, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed that Keith Jensen Livestock failed to timely pay for 2,210 head of livestock, totaling $4,070,098 from Sept. 11, 2014, through Feb. 12, 2015.

The P&S Act requires subject entities to issue payment for livestock by the close of the first business day following purchase and transfer of possession. Failure to timely pay for livestock purchases and failure to issue the full payment for purchases is an unfair trade practice and a violation of the P&S Act.

Keith Jensen Livestock will have 20 calendar days following receipt of the complaint to respond directly to the USDA Administrative Law Judge or be found in violation and subject to penalty.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $11,000 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Keith Jensen Livestock may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.

Mark Robinson, d.b.a. Robinson Livestock

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on July 19, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a complaint against Mark Robinson, doing business as Robinson Livestock (Robinson Livestock) of South Dakota, for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed from February 2016 to April 2016, Robinson Livestock operated as a market agency buying livestock on commission when he received $7,202 in commissions for purchasing 625 head of livestock totaling $762,915. Robinson Livestock engaged in business as a market agency, buying livestock on commission in commerce without obtaining the necessary bond or bond equivalent.

The P&S Act requires that every market agency, packer and dealer must execute and maintain a bond applicable to the activity or activities in which the entity engages. Operating without an adequate bond or bond equivalent is a violation of the P&S Act.

Robinson Livestock will have 20 calendar days following receipt of the complaint to respond directly to the USDA Administrative Law Judge or be found in violation and subject to penalty.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $11,000 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted or proven in an oral hearing, Robinson Livestock may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.

Jonathan Allen Sivertson d.b.a. Sivertson Farms

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2019 – As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, on June 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an administrative complaint against Jonathan Allen Sivertson, doing business as Sivertson Farms (Sivertson Farms), of Souris, N.D., for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act.

An investigation by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed that on Dec. 8, 2017, Sivertson Farms, failed to pay the remaining purchase price for 36 head of livestock totaling $33,161. Additionally, on or about Dec. 8, 2017 and Jan. 2, 2018, Sivertson Farms issued two insufficient funds checks to livestock sellers totaling $39,161. The P&S Act requires subject firms to issue the full payment for livestock by the close of the first business day following the purchase and transfer of possession. Failure to pay for livestock purchases and issuing insufficient funds checks is an unfair trade practice and a violation of the P&S Act.

Sivertson Farms will have 20 calendar days following receipt of the complaint to respond directly to the USDA Administrative Law Judge or be found in violation and subject to penalty.

The P&S Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to assess civil penalties up to $27,500 per violation against any person after the notice and opportunity for a hearing on the record. If the allegations are admitted, or proven in an oral hearing, Sivertson Farms may be ordered to cease and desist from violating the P&S Act and assessed a civil penalty.

More information

The P&S Act is a fair trade practice and payment protection law that promotes fair and competitive marketing environments for the livestock, meat and poultry industries.

For further information about the Packers and Stockyards Act, contact Stuart Frank, Packers and Stockyards Division, at (515) 323-2586, or by email at stuart.frank@usda.gov.