National Exception Programs

The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) established three exception programs allowing grain elevators to obtain official services from more than one official agency. The "timely service" exception program started November 1, 1995; the "barge probe service" exception program started March 1, 1998; and the “written agreement” exception program, which replaces the former “non-use of service” exception program, started September 30, 2015.

Under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), official agencies (OA) are designated to serve a specific geographic area. This restriction was established to ensure effective and efficient delivery of official services to all facilities within the assigned geographic area designated to an OA. However, some grain companies have reported difficulty getting service with only one official agency serving each area. Under the exception programs, the USGSA provides grain elevators another option. Eligible grain elevators needing 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, if the incumbent OA cannot provide service within 6-hours of the request, the facility can request official services from an alternate OA. Facilities should request services within the time periods established in the OA’s approved fee schedule.

Barge Probe Service

Under the "barge probe service" exception program, any OA may provide probe sampling and inspection service for barge-lots of grain with no restrictions due to geographical locations.

Written Agreement

Under the "written agreement" exception program, a facility may request official services be provided by an alternate OA whose geographic area is adjacent to the incumbent OA’s geographic area. If the incumbent OA agrees to allow the alternate OA to provide service at that facility, a written agreement exception request must be submitted to the FGIS Quality Assurance and Compliance Division (QACD) at

Nonuse of Service

The "nonuse of service" exception program was removed from the USGSA under the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015.

List of nonuse of service exceptions in effect
List of nonuse of service exceptions terminated since July 2016

Exception Program requests must be submitted to:

Quality Assurance and Compliance Division
10353 N Ambassador Drive
Kansas City, MO 64153
Telephone: 816-891-0401
Fax: 816-872-1257