Commercial Feed FAQs


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Commercial Feed Licensing FAQs

For more information contact us: at (360) 902-1942 or FeedReg@agr.wa.gov
Manufacturers, guarantors and distributors of any commercial feed except pet food, must be licensed with the state of Washington. Pet food products are required to be registered, (please refer to the Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food section). 

The license requirement pertains but is not limited to such products as feed ingredients, complete and concentrated feeds, feed premixes, and nutritional supplements for livestock, zoo and laboratory animals, wildlife (wild birds, squirrels, deer, etc.).
Annual Cost: $50 license fee is required.

Additionally, companies are required to submit a semi-annual report of feed distributed in/into the state. For more information refer to the Semi-Annual Commercial Feed Inspection Fee Reporting page.
License Period Begins: July 1st
Expires: June 30th
Forms: Commercial Feed License Application, Form 4273 [PDF 1 MB]
Contact: Lizette Beckman (360) 902-1942
Email: feedreg@agr.wa.gov

General Information About Commerical Feeds Licenses

Who needs a License?

Except as noted below, a commercial feed license must be obtained for each facility that:

  • Distributes commercial feed in/into the state.
  • Manufactures commercial feed non pet food products in the state.
  • Is listed as the guarantor on the commercial feed label.

EXCEPTIONS:

A facility does not need a commercial feed license if it distributes only the following products:

  • Pet food or specialty pet food.
  • Any other commercial feed sold at retail, unless the facility is listed as the guarantor on a label.
  • Byproducts from fruit, vegetable or potato processing plants.
  • Byproducts from juice or jelly preserving plants.
  • Experimental feed on which accurate records and experimental programs are maintained.
 

Examples:

I don't manufacture feed. I purchase bulk feed from an out of state manufacturer and sell it to an in state company. I have the feed shipped directly from the manufacturer to the purchaser.
You are required to have a commercial feed license.

I buy bulk feed from another company and warehouse it at my in-state facility until I sell it.
You are required to have a commercial feed license.

I pick up a waste/by-product and feed it to my own animals.
You are not required to have a commercial feed license.

I pick up a waste/by-product and sell it to a local dairy.
You are required to have a license.

I buy corn and canola that I mix together to feed my own animals.
You are not required to have a license.

I buy corn and barley separately in bulk. I mix them together on my farm and sell the mixture to other people. 
You are required to have a license.

I buy corn and barley separately in bulk. I sell the corn or barley separately to other people.
You are not required to have a license.


What is a commercial feed?

"Commercial feed" means all materials or combinations of materials that are distributed or intended for distribution for use as feed or for mixing in feed, unless such materials are specifically exempted. For examples of commericial feed, please reference the "What is a Commercial Feed in Washington State" list. (This list does not include pet food examples.)

How do I apply for a New Commercial Feed License?

Applying for a Commercial Feed License for the first time is easy if you follow this simple process:
  1.  Open Form 4273.
    1.  Complete Sections 1 & 2.
  2.  Print the form and sign in Section 4.
  3. Attach $50.00 check or money order made out to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
  4. Mail to:
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Food Safety & Consumer Services Division
Animal Feed Program
PO Box 42591
Olympia WA 98504-2591
 

After I've sent in my application how long will it take until I receive my license certificate?

License applications are processed in the order in which they are received. The typical "error-free" application is normally processed within 4 weeks. Processing your application may take longer if it is incomplete. You will receive a Notice of Incomplete Application for any of the following reasons:
  • The application is received without a license fee.
  • Fees are received without an application.
  • Portions of the application have been left blank.
Please note: Applications that have been returned will lose their position in the processing order.  

I've sent in my application for a new license, can I distribute in Washington?

 You cannot distribute your feed until you receive your license. If your product is found in distribution without a license you may be subject to compliance action. 

How do I know when to renew my license?

A renewal application will be sent to all licensees by June 1st. A complete renewal application with appropriate fee(s) must be received by July 1st. If your application is not received by July 1st you must pay a late renewal fee of $50.00. It is your responsibility to renew on time. Licensee's who have not received their application by June 15th, should immediately contact Lizette Beckman at (360) 902-1942 or send an email to FeedReg@agr.wa.gov.

The renewal application is pre-printed with your license number and company information as previously submitted to WSDA. If any of the information has changed since the previous license was issued, indicate the changes on the form so our records may be updated.

Changes can be made directly on the application by crossing out the incorrect information and writing in the correct information.

If you are not going to renew your license, please send a letter or email stating you are canceling your license. In the letter or email, provide your license number and location.  

What happens if my product is found in distribution and I don't have a current Commercial Feed License?

If you are found distributing a product without a license, you may be subject to compliance action. In addition, you will be expected to apply for a license immediately. You will also be required to report the amount of feed distributed for the last three years and pay all appropriate fees (including late fees).

If you refuse to obtain a license, WSDA has the authority to issue a stop sale for your products. Violating Washington State Commercial Feed Law is a misdemeanor. 

Is one license enough?

Use the following scenarios to determine if more than one license is needed:
  • The label contains the statement "Distributed By: Company A, 8910 11th Street, Spokane WA, 99020".
    •  A valid Washington State Commercial Feed License must be held by Company A, 8910 11th Street, Spokane WA, 99020.
  • The label contains the statements "Manufactured By Company A, Spokane WA" and "Distributed by Company B, 4444 1st Street, Portland OR 98122".
    •  A valid Washington State Commercial Feed license must be held by:
      •  Company A, Spokane WA
      • Company B, 4444 1st Street, Portland OR 98122.
  • Company C is located out of state and manufactures a commercial feed that is distributed by Company D, Yakima WA 99161. The label states: Distributed by Company D, Yakima WA 99161.
    •  A valid Washington State Commercial Feed license must be held by:
      • Company D, Yakima WA 99161.
  • Company B, 4444 1st Street, Portland OR 98122 holds a current Washington State license. Company B also conducts business using several other names such as Company X, Company Y and Company Z. The various labels each show a different name, without the name Company B. The addresses shown may or may not be the same as that shown on the Company B license.
    •  A valid Washington State Commercial Feed license must be held by:
      • Company B
      • Company X
      • Company Y
      • Company Z
  • The headquarters for Company A is located at 8910 11th Street, Spokane WA, 99020. The company has additional branches in Bend OR, Chehalis WA and in Los Angeles CA. All three branches produce feeds labeled as manufactured by Company A, but show the address of the headquarter location only. All three branches distribute their commercial feeds in Washington state.
    •  A valid Washington State Commercial Feed license must be held by:
      • Company A, Spokane WA
      • Company A, Bend OR
      • Company A, Chehalis WA
      • Company A, Los Angeles CA
     

Commercial Animal Feed Labeling Requirements

A product label is required on all packaged commercial feed and must accompany all deliveries of bulk commercial feed. The label requirements are found in RCW 15.53.9016 (1) of the Commercial Feed Law and in WAC 16-250-018 through 16-250-110 of the Commercial Feed Rules for all feed except dog, cat, and specialty pet food. Labeling requirements for dog, cat and specialty pet food are in WAC 16-252-025 through 16-252-100 of the Commercial Feed Rules - Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food.

The WSDA NON-Pet Food Label Design and Format Guide in pdf format (1.09MB) is available on the Internet, by contacting WSDA Commercial Feed Staff or by calling (360) 902-1942.

In general, any commercial feed, except a customer-formula feed, distributed in this state must be accompanied by a legible label bearing the following information:

  1. product name and the brand name, if any, under which the commercial feed is distributed;
  2. if a drug is used, the name and concentration of the drug and the word "MEDICATED";
  3. purpose of feed statement;
  4. guaranteed analysis which must be determinable by laboratory methods such as the methods published by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists;
  5. ingredient statement except in the case of single standardized ingredient feeds which are officially defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials;
  6. adequate directions for the safe and effective use of all commercial feeds containing additives such as drugs, non-protein nitrogen, supplementary vitamins, minerals or other dietary compounds;
  7. precautionary statements for commercial feed products containing prohibited mammalian protein or animal drugs (such as antibiotics);
  8. name and principal mailing address of the person responsible for distributing the commercial feed;
  9. quantity statement such as net weight, volume or count; and
  10. lot identification.

Customer formula feed labeling for all animals is regulated by the Commercial Feed Law and WAC 16-250 sections 018, 020, 042, 075, 090, and 100 of the Commercial Feed Rules. In general customer formula feed must be accompanied by labeling bearing the following information:

  1. Name and address of the manufacturer;
  2. Name and address of the purchaser;
  3. Date of delivery;
  4. Customer-formula feed name and brand name if any;
  5. Directions for use and precautionary statements;
  6. If a drug is used, a complete medicated feed label; and
  7. Quantity statement.

The product name and net quantity of each commercial feed and each other ingredient used in the customer-formula feed must be on file at the plant producing the product. These records do not have to be delivered with the customer-formula feed, but they must be:

  1. Kept on file for at least one year after the date of the last distribution; and
  2. Available to the purchaser, the dealer making the distribution, and the department on request. 

If the term "organic" is used on any commercial feed label, the feed must be produced under conditions that comply with the 2001 National Organic Program final rule standards for the production and handling of organic crops, livestock and processed food products. The 2001 National Organic Program final rule may be obtained from the WSDA Organic Food Program, and the USDA National Organic Program.

For further information, contact WSDA Commercial Feed Staff or (360) 902-1942.


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