Division of Agricultural Inspections

Bureau of Shipping Point Inspections

The Federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Service originated in 1917, but its authority was restricted to work in destination markets where the inspections were only made by Federal Market Inspectors. In 1922, Congress extended the service to shipping points by adding to the authority the words, “when offered for interstate shipment” and so began Idaho’s Bureau of Shipping Point Inspection. This service is a joint federal-state program entirely supported by fees collected from users of the service.

Shipping Point InspectorThe bureau maintains a Boise headquarters along with four district offices strategically located in Idaho’s production areas. Locations are: Parma, Burley, Blackfoot, and Idaho Falls. The bureau is the largest in ISDA, serving producers, shippers and processors in 36 of the state’s 44 counties. Annually, the bureau performs inspections on 11 different commodities and certified over 10.9 billion pounds of produce in FY-2010. To provide this service, the bureau supports a staff of 300 employees in 17 different job classifications. Although some positions are staffed year-round, 70 percent of the workforce is employed in seasonal, part-time positions.

Employees of the Shipping Point Inspection program inspect commodities for quality and condition at the shipping point, using official grade standards developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and ISDA for fresh fruits and vegetables. The Bureau of Shipping Point Inspection established a third party auditing program that helps Idaho producers and shippers meet the increasing demand for Good Management Practices (GMPs), Good Handling Practices (GHPs), and Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

On April 27, 2009, the ISDA signed a revised cooperative agreement with USDA to conduct surveillance reviews on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements as mandated by the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. These reviews are conducted by the Bureau of Shipping Point Inspection. Covered commodities include muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, goat, pork, and chicken; ground beef (including veal), ground lamb, ground goat, ground pork, and ground chicken; farm-raised fish and shellfish (fresh and frozen); wild-caught fish and shellfish (fresh and frozen); perishable agricultural commodities such as fruit and vegetables (fresh and frozen); pecans; macadamia nuts; peanuts; and ginseng.

Recent Achievements

  • Issued phytosanitary inspection certificates on loads of fruit and vegetables certified and shipped to 32 different countries.
  • Maintain a chemical maturity monitoring testing station to control sucrose and glucose content levels in potato tubers during the growing and development stages and during storage life.
  • Annually conduct over 400 third-party food safety audits for producers and packers.
  • Under cooperative agreements with USDA, conducted 44 COOL retail surveillance activities.
  • Rewrite of the Shipping Point Inspection computer program to keep up with technology, requests for electronic communication, and timely results.

Future Goals

  • Develop and provide presentations statewide for growers on the requirements for USDA GAP audits.
  • Utilize our new computer program for more precise information gathering and tracking practices through the timesheet entry program.
  • Work with industry and other state departments of agriculture in researching and possible development of an electronic inspection certificate which will allow timely inspection results to all financially interested parties.
  • Work with USDA and the Idaho agriculture industry to maintain up-to-date information on all aspects of COOL requirements and to assist Idaho’s agriculture industry in meeting those requirements.

Organic Certification Program

Organic InspectorThe Idaho State Department of Agriculture is an accredited organic certifying agency with the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (NOP). Currently the Idaho Organic Program provides certification to approximately 200 producers and handlers on over 38 different commodities in 39 of Idaho’s 44 counties.


Recent Achievements

  • Program reorganized with all new staff including program manager, program specialist, and senior inspector.
  • Adopted a new July 1 due date for plan submissions to better service organic producers and processors.
  • Continued cross training of other ISDA employees and hired contract inspectors to improve public service during peak workloads.

Future Goals

  • Update Idaho laws and rules to conform to U. S. federal laws and rules.
  • Comply with all NOP requirements in order to maintain the market worth and quality of organic products.
  • Continue training all organic program staff and other division support staff to meet our organic program inspection service commitments. 
  • Increase the number of producers and processors to be serviced.

Warehouse Control Program

The Warehouse Control Program protects commodity and seed producers from financial loss through education, regulation of public warehouses, commodity dealers and seed buyer facilities, and administration of the Commodity Indemnity Fund (CIF) and the Seed Indemnity Fund (SIF). Idaho’s agricultural warehouse and seed industries store and market a wide variety of commodities such as wheat, barley, oats, dry edible beans, peas, lentils, oilseeds and a number of other diverse grain and seed crops grown in Idaho

Warehouse examiners conduct reviews, which help to ensure that warehouse operators continue to maintain a stock of commodities reflective of what has been deposited by producers. Commodity dealers are also examined to ensure that producers are being paid for their agricultural commodities.

The Commodity Indemnity Fund (CIF) and the Seed Indemnity Fund (SIF) offer additional protection for producers in the event a warehouse, commodity dealer, or seed buyer fails financially. These two $12 million funds are supported by producers’ assessments and allow producers to recoup up to 90 percent of losses due to such a failure.

Recent Achievements

  • Worked with industry to obtain passage of new SIF laws to eliminate the risk of loss to the SIF from uninsurable perils, and to end assessments on seed that is delivered for processing but for which no sale or storage is involved.
  • Transferred a senior examiner to North Idaho to improve service.
  • Completed more than 72 months without a licensee financial failure.
  • Attended cereal schools to update and educate producers about program protections.

Future Goals

  • Support industry efforts to strengthen protections for grass seed producers.
  • Strengthen depth of program staffing in financial skills.
  • Continue to monitor markets for volatility and soft spots as the economy improves.
  • Continue efforts to educate producers about program protections.

Scale Bureau of Weights and Measures

The Bureau of Weights and Measures is responsible for statewide inspection of accuracy and suitability of commercial weighing and measuring devices such as vehicle and livestock scales, petroleum meters, gas pumps and propane meters. Packaged products are inspected to ensure net contents meet labeled weight, volume or count. The bureau investigates complaints of short delivery, misleading advertisements and monitors gasoline octane. The bureau is responsible for Idaho’s fuel quality and labeling. The metrology laboratory provides traceable calibration of mass, length and volume standards for the weights and measures program, registered service agencies and private industry needing National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceability. The metrology laboratory is currently recognized by NIST as a participant in the measurement assurance program for state laboratories.

Recent Achievements

  • Reorganized and cross trained office staff.
  • Streamlined the Boise office procedures for licensing and data entry which resulted in saving time and money.
  • The metrology laboratory received a two year certificate of traceability from NIST in mass, volume and length disciplines.
  • Updated the metrology laboratory quality system to meet ISO 17025 standards.

Future Goals

  • Continue to work toward accreditation for the Metrology Laboratory by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).
  • Develop web based programs for customers to access device license and weigh-master applications online and pay by credit card.
  • Participate in continued education module training for staff through train the trainer courses provided by the National Conference on Weights and Measures and NIST.
  • Accomplish a minimum of 29,000 device inspections.
  • Represent Idaho at national and regional weights and measures conferences providing input on voting issues that are published annually in NIST handbooks and adopted in statute as reference documents.

Hops

The Hop Inspection Program continues to serve our hop producers, sampling and grading 27,328 bales of hops in the 2009 season.

Hops Inspector

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