|Page updated/verified: Jan 04, 2013
Commodity Inspection Division
Brad Avy, Assistant Director
Jessica Allenton, Acting Division Coordinator
The State of Washington is unique in the function of providing a comprehensive package of federal inspection services through fee-based, state sponsored programs. The Commodity Inspection Division provides unbiased, third party inspection for a wide variety of Washington State agricultural products and assists agricultural companies in exporting their products. The Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program and the Grain and Seed Program provide verification services of product quality, condition, and volume as well as certification on the freedom from quarantine pests and diseases for international export markets. These two programs operate on delegated authority from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the agencies of the Federal Grain Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The International Marketing Program provides promotional support to the state's agricultural companies to assist them with exporting their products, with contract representatives in Japan, Taiwan and China. These individuals are experts in the export and marketing of food products in these regions.
The Fruit and Vegetable Inspection program provides inspection services to the fresh produce and processing industry to ensure orderly marketing of fruits and vegetables. Major commodities inspected include apples, pears, cherries, peaches, asparagus, potatoes and onions. These commodities are inspected for quality, size, labeling, condition, and contract specifications, and may be certified as free from disease and insects as required by domestic and international markets. These services are provided through district offices in Yakima and Wenatchee and ten field offices located throughout the state. This self-supporting, fee-for-service program is the largest in the agency, accounting for about 30% of the agency's employees and about 20% of the agency's expenditures.
The Grain and Seed Program has three sub-programs for Grain Inspection, Seed Inspection and Certification, and Warehouse Audit:
Grain Inspection provides inspection, analytical and
weighing services to ensure orderly commerce for grain, dry peas,
dry beans, lentils and similar commodities sold in or from
Washington. These services are provided at eight grain inspection
facilities located throughout the state (Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia,
Kalama, Vancouver, Pasco, Spokane, and Colfax). The program, as
required by federal law, provides service 24 hours a day, seven days
a week, upon request. This fee-for-service program is the second
largest program in the agency in terms of employees and estimated
Seed Inspection/Certification conducts pre-harvest field inspections and laboratory testing of agricultural, vegetable and flower seeds grown under the seed certification program. The program tests seed samples submitted by seed growers and companies to determine compliance with purity and germination standards, and to certify seed for domestic and international marketing. The program operates the state's only official seed testing laboratory in Yakima. This is a self-supporting, fee-for-service program.
Grain Warehouse Audit protects grain producers from undue losses by requiring licensing and bonding of grain storage warehouses and grain dealers. The program audits each licensee to assure producers and depositors that the warehouses and dealers are meeting requirements to cover storage and contractual obligations. This program is funded by license fees.
The International Marketing Program works closely with Washington State's food and agricultural companies to help them export their products. By providing companies with promotional support, market information and access to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) market assistance programs, we help them to find buyers for their products.
The former Small Farms and Direct Marketing Program assisted food and agriculture companies to sell their products domestically; addresses market barriers for small farms and develops direct marketing opportunities for farmers, including farm-to-school programs. Effective July 1, 2011 the Domestic Marketing & Economic Development, Small Farm Direct Marketing and Farm-to-School programs have been eliminated due to legislative budget reductions and these programs have ceased operation.
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