GIPSA has required the reweighing of hog carcasses at slaughter plants for many years. The carcasses are returned by rail to the hot weight scale before entering the cooler, or the chain is stopped and carcasses are transported back for placement on the hot weight scale for reweighing. (GIPSA regulations provide similar provisions for the poultry industry.)
The amended GIPSA regulations now require this reweighing provision also be applied to swine contractors for the weighing of livestock and feed. Additionally, amended regulation § 201.49(b) now requires the name, initials, or identification number of the weigher of each carcass be printed on the scale ticket. (This requirement does not apply to automated weighing systems where a weigher is not stationed at the scale.)
This means that any contract in which payment under the contract utilizes weights of swine or feed as a factor in determining payment or settlement (e.g, actual feed conversion, rate-of-gain or similar metrics linked to feed or swine weight) is now subject to reweighing requirements. Notably, in the discussion and comments to the amended regulations GIPSA has generally taken the position that swine contractors will be required to reweigh, upon request of GIPSA personnel, feed and hog carcasses but not feeder and weaner pigs from a grower's farm.
For company owned or operated scales used for the weighing of feed or livestock, unused and partially executed scale tickets must not be left exposed or accessible to other parties and, except for scales located at feed mills, must be kept under lock when the weigher is not at the scale. It should also be noted that all scales are required to be incompliance with § 201.71 calibration and accuracy requirements.
Feed and livestock scale tickets or other basic transaction records must now show the following additional items:
- The city, state and the identity of the scale (if the location has more than one scale) used to weigh feed.
- A zero balance for both the gross weight and tare weight.
- The date and time the zero balance was determined.
- When using a vehicle scale to weigh feed for more than one producer or grower on the same multi-compartment truck, the preceding producer's or grower's gross weight can be used for the next producer's or grower's tare weight without printing a zero balance, and repeated until the unit is full.
In addition, when weighing feed, the certified scale must register a zero balance prior to beginning the weighing process. Typically, one zero balance documented on a scale ticket along with the tare and gross weight for the grower or truckload is sufficient. If the truck is moved from one scale to another scale to complete the weighing process, a separate zero balance must be recorded for the tare and gross weights. Once the scale registers a zero balance, a truck/trailer may be driven onto the scale to obtain the tare or gross weights of the truck/trailer and load.
Finally, swine contractors are now regulated under the care and promptness of weighing regulations. Regulation § 201.82(a) now requires swine contractors (along with other parties as defined in 7 U.S.C. 182 of the P&S Act) to exercise "reasonable care and promptness with respect to loading, transporting, holding, yarding, feeding, watering, weighing or otherwise handling livestock or live poultry to prevent waste of feed, shrinkage, injury, death or other avoidable loss."
The Cattle, Sheep, Horse, Goat and Mule Industries
The definition of livestock under the P&S Act also includes cattle, sheep, horses, goats and mules. As a consequence, many of the regulations referenced in this update also apply to these industries. This update focuses on the poultry and swine industries as a result of the integrated structure of those industries. However, an appropriate inquiry should be made by processors and integrators in all industries to ensure compliance with the P&S Act and GIPSA regulations.