FGIS Structure and Organization
The Quality Assurance and Compliance Division (QACD) is responsible for verifying and validating that the national inspection and weighing system continues to meet the regulatory requirements. The Division delegates and designates State and privately owned grain inspection agencies to provide official inspection and weighing services under the US Grain Standards Act. QACD also manages cooperative agreements with States and inspection agencies to provide official services under the Agricultural Marketing Act. The Division conducts operational reviews of these agencies and Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) offices to evaluate customer satisfaction, management effectiveness, and procedural compliance. It also evaluates reports of alleged violations of the U.S. Grain Standards Act and Agricultural Marketing Act, conducts investigations, helps the USDA Office of Inspector General conduct more complex investigations, and initiates appropriate enforcement actions. The Division also registers all persons engaged in buying grain for sale in foreign commerce. Finally, the Division ensures compliance with clearance, documentation, reporting, legal, and other requirements relating to implementation of FGIS issuances; and ensures that FGIS' policies and programs are effectively articulated through regulations as required by law.
The Field Management Division (FMD) located in Kansas City, Missouri, is FGIS’s central laboratory for technical leadership and support for the official inspection system and U.S. grain industry. TSD develops, maintains, improves, and supports all official test methods for grain, rice, beans, peas, and lentils. The Division provides reference method analysis, inspection methods development, instrument calibration, methods development and laboratory proficiency testing, rapid test kit performance certification, visual references, technical training, quality control and standardization processes, and final inspection appeals.
FGIS Field Offices and duty points are at the front-line of the official inspection and weighing system, a network of Federal, State, and private employees located across the Nation to ensure the availability of official inspection and weighing services anywhere in the United States and eastern Canada. In export markets, field personnel provide daily onsite inspection and weighing services to grain elevators. In domestic markets, they oversee the operations of State and private agencies authorized to provide official grain inspection and weighing service on FGIS's behalf. Field offices serve our customers 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The International Affairs Division (IAD) administers all FGIS international programs. IAD, working with other USDA and U.S. Government agencies, addresses disruptions in grain trade related to the quality, sanitary, or phytosanitary attributes of export shipments as they relate to the importer's contractual specifications, or the laws and regulations of the importing country; investigates discrepancies reported by importing countries on the quality or weight of U.S. grains, oilseeds, and related products certified by FGIS at the time of export; and conducts collaborative studies, sample exchanges, and monitoring activities with importers to address persistent or recurring discrepancies. The staff also serves as FGIS's liaison with the Foreign Agricultural Service, other pertinent USDA agencies, the U.S. Government, USDA Cooperator organizations, and others to coordinate issues involving international grain trade. IAD represents FGIS on committees and task forces concerned with international grain trade policies, and national policy issues relating to the trade agreements, agricultural biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
IAD coordinates and conducts domestic sample surveys to collect market information about the quality of U.S. grain exports; develops and conducts educational programs for public and private-sector audiences in importing countries to explain the U.S. grain marketing system and our role in international grain commerce, as well as official U.S. quality standards and grain/oilseed/commodity inspection procedures. As the international outreach arm, IAD meets with Governmental and trade groups visiting the United States from other countries to explain our role and responsibilities. IAD provides technical assistance to importing countries to develop grain standards and establish grain inspection laboratories that mirror FGIS labs to facilitate trade and minimize trade disruptions. Through outreach activities, IAD is able to obtain available information on the importing country’s requirements, specifications, standards, and inspection methods; and coordinate regular, bilateral discussions with Canada relating to our mutual systems of grain quality measurement technology, standards and inspection procedures, and cross-border grain trade issues.
The Technology and Science Division (TSD) is responsible for the overall planning, development, administration, and management of all grain inspection and weighing and related support programs and activities assigned to the Agency under the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act. This includes developing and executing inspection and weighing programs, policies, and procedures; as well as marketing standards for assigned grains, oilseeds, pulses, and rice. The Division directs and oversees the operation of all FGIS field offices, Federal/State offices, and delegated and designated agencies, including licensing inspection personnel.
TSD develops and maintains internationally accepted reference methods for protein, moisture, oil, starch, pesticide residues and mycotoxins, and develops and maintains references for visual inspection. The Division develops, adapts, and evaluates quality assessment methods for applicability and suitability for the official inspection systems. TSD develops and maintains the official visual inspection methods, such as damage, class, appearance and all other visually determined quality attributes. The Division provides centralized quality processes for visual inspection and official tests such as protein, moisture, oil, falling number, and mycotoxins. TSD maintains FGIS's official equipment standards and provides the focal point of the check testing of official inspection equipment such as moisture meters, test weight devices, dockage machines, and sieves. It also administers a global proficiency program to verify other laboratories accuracy and reliability in detecting biotechnology-derived traits in corn and soybeans, and verifies the performance of rapid tests for these traits in grains. TSD performs the technical investigation of discrepancies reported by importing countries on the quality of U.S. exports and conducts collaborative studies and sample exchange activities with importers. TSD plays a major role in surveys to collect market information about the quality of U.S. grain exports. Finally, TSD provides technical training and educational content for the official inspection system and to interested parties in the U.S. grain industry. The Division conducts educational programs on FGIS's role in international grain commerce and U.S. quality standards and testing procedures for international trade teams that visit the United States.