National Exception Programs

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration established three exception programs that allow grain elevators to get official services from more than one official agency. The "timely service" and "nonuse of service" (formerly referred to as "open season") exception programs started November 1, 1995; the "barge" exception program started March 1, 1998.

All official agencies in the United States are designated to serve a specific area. Grain elevators can have grain officially inspected or weighed only by the agency designated to serve their area. This restriction was put in place to protect producers, buyers, and sellers. However some grain companies have reported difficulty getting service with only one official agency serving each area. Under the exception programs, GIPSA provides grain elevators another option. Eligible grain elevators that need official services can request official grain inspection or weighing services from an agency other than the one designated to serve their area under certain conditions.

Timely Service

Under the "timely service" exception program, a grain elevator that cannot get official services within the specified time can request official services from another official agency. If the assigned official agency cannot provide official sampling services within 6 hours, the grain elevator may request services from another official agency without prior GIPSA approval. For official inspection and weighing services, the grain elevator must be able to get the results within 6 hours of the completion of sampling or weighing service. The results may be given by telephone, fax, or other electronic means.

Nonuse of Service

Under the "nonuse of service" exception program, grain elevators that have not had official sample-lot inspection or weighing services in the previous 90 days may request official services from another official agency of their choice. Grain elevators that want to participate in this program must submit a request to GIPSA for approval. GIPSA will review the request according to the requirements in FGIS Directive 9290.18


Under the "barge" exception program, official agencies can probe-sample and inspect grain in barges located outside the geographic areas assigned to them. Participating agencies must provide GIPSA with information on services provided under the program.

Exception Program requests may be submitted to:

10353 N Ambassador Drive
Kansas City, MO 64153
Telephone: 816-891-0401
Fax: 816-872-1257