Stalled Grain Inspections
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
During a recent press call Ag Network's Greg Martin questioned U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack about the Federal Grain Inspection Service declining a request from the WSDA to provide grain inspection services at the Port of Vancouver. The United Grain Corporation's export terminal at the Port of Vancouver has been left without grain inspectors after Governor Inslee's recent decision to halt the Washington State Patrol security detail escort of WSDA grain inspectors to and from the export terminal during the ongoing labor dispute between UGC and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
VILSACK: Washington State inspectors have basically been pulled because of safety concerns. I think it is incumbent upon me to make sure that any decision we make relative to inspectors is done with the safety of those inspectors in mind. I will tell you I'm a little concerned about the fact that Washington State's made this decision. In terms of why they made it they must obviously conclude that conditions aren't as safe as they need to be. That is the primary concern that I obviously have for the folks who work. I know that there is increased traffic in a number of other ports where this is not an issue. Hopefully this gets worked out and we're not going to be confronted with putting folks in an unsafe circumstance and condition.
The Washington Association of Wheat Growers joined numerous other state and national ag groups recently in writing a letter to Vilsack stating in part that "the disruptions that have already occurred have put at risk the United States' reputation as a reliable supplier of grains and oilseeds to foreign customers", and "in the absence of WSDA's reliable performance of it's duties the FGIS must intervene and make the necessary arrangements to provide the mandatory Official services."
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.