Commission Merchants

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Agricultural Investigations Program

For more information, e-mail us or call (360) 902-1857.

The Agricultural Investigations Program enforces the Commission Merchants Act RCW 20.01 and administrative rules. Program staff investigates complaints to protect producers, buyers and sellers of agricultural products against illegal activities.

Washington's Agricultural Investigations Program was established to protect producers, buyers, and sellers of agricultural products against illegal business practices. RCW 20.01, Agricultural Products -- Commission Merchants, Dealers, Brokers, Buyers, Agents, was first enacted in 1959. The statute gives the department authority to regulate individuals and businesses that receive on consignment, take possession or control of or act as brokers in the resale or processing of unprocessed agricultural products. The department regulates individuals and businesses through licensing and bonding. The program takes complaints from consignors, conducts investigations, and enforcement activities. This program is entirely funded through the collection of license fees and other charges WAC 16-623; no general fund dollars are received.

Among many provisions this law requires:

  • Commission merchants, dealers, limited dealers, brokers, and cash buyers be licensed annually by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). In most cases agricultural businesses must post bonds. Licenses can be obtained from WSDA at any time, however all licenses expire on December 31 of each year. Bonds are obtained through commercial surety companies.
  • Commission merchants must remit payment for consignments within 30 days of selling agricultural products on the growers account unless otherwise agreed to by contract.
  • Dealers in livestock must pay within seven days or as required by contract.
  • Dealers in all other agricultural products must pay within 30 days of taking possession or as required by contract.
  • Dealers or commission merchants in hay or straw must furnish the producer an endorsed fully completed manifest of cargo for each load. They must obtain a certified net and gross weight from the first certified public scale nearest the producer and furnish the producer a copy of the certified weight ticket within 72 hours of taking possession of the hay or straw.
  • Limited dealers must pay for purchases of agricultural products upon taking possession.
  • Cash buyers may only purchase produce for resale and must pay cash (no personal or business checks) for all produce at the time of taking possession. No bond is required for cash buyers.
  • Roadside inspections pertaining to vehicles transporting any agricultural products, including livestock will be conducted by the Agricultural Investigations Program under the authority of chapter 20.01 RCW and rules in chapter 16-623 WAC.  During roadside inspections, the officer will ask for proper documentation of legal possession and verify compliance with chapter 20.01 RCW and chapter 16-623 WAC.  Roadside inspections will be conducted at various locations in eastern and western Washington throughout the year.

Licensed Dealers, Commission Merchants, Limited Dealers, Brokers and Cash Buyers


Vacant, Program Manager

Vacant, Program Administrative Coordinator

Karen Sanders, Customer Service Specialist

PO Box 42560
Olympia, WA  98504-2560
Phone:  (360) 902-1857
Fax:  (360) 902-2086


Dave Robinson, Investigations Supervisor
(509) 249-6963

Pat Ditter, Investigator
(509) 249-6961

Phil Posada, Investigator
(509) 249-6962

21 N. First Avenue, Suite 110
Yakima, WA  98902
Fax:  (509) 575-2524

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