Standards & Procedures

Official inspections of grains, oilseeds, and other agricultural and processed commodities are based on established official U.S. standards, and on sound, proven, and standardized procedures, techniques, and equipment. This ensures consistency of test results and services, from elevator to elevator and state to state.

GIPSA establishes and maintains the official U.S. standards for grains, oilseeds, and related commodities. The standards are used each and every day by domestic and international sellers and buyers as a common commercial language to quickly and effectively communicate the type and quality of product being bought and sold.

All of the Federal, State, and private partners that comprise the official system are strictly guided by the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. Every official service provider uses uniform, codified processes, procedures, and techniques.

The accuracy of officially approved equipment is verified - and reverified - by GIPSA using finely calibrated master instruments and official reference methods.

Official personnel pass rigorous licensing tests and undergo extensive and continuous training. The work of official personnel is reviewed and monitored by an extensive quality assurance program. And, every official State and private agency is backed by the resources and expertise of the FGIS Technical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

You can count on the official system to provide you with accurate, consistent test results and services throughout the marketing system.

Official U.S. Standards

Visual Reference Images

Visual Reference Images (VRI) are used to ensure consistent and uniform application of grading lines and illustrate types of damage in conjunction with written descriptions. The visual grading aids system represents the foundation for the national inspection system's subjective quality control program, providing an effective management tool for aligning inspectors and assisting them in making proper and consistent subjective grading decisions. The system consists of a series of commodity specific VRI and descriptive text which, with regular use, controls and diminishes the impact of ordinary perceptional differences.


  • Approved Equipment List
  • Moisture Equipment

Inspection and Weighing of Containers - Questions and Answers

BAR Questions & Answers(PDF; 108Kb)

Occasionally, questions regarding the interpretation or application of inspection policies and procedures arise due to the relative complexity or ambiguity involved. In such instances, GIPSA prepares and posts a coordinated response to provide clarity and promote uniformity in the understanding and application of policies and procedures.

Laboratory and Reference Methods

GIPSA's reference methods and laboratories are integral components of the official inspection system. Each reference lab uses internationally recognized methods to directly measure the constituent of interest. The data from these labs are used to calibrate our field instruments and/or methods to internationally recognized reference methods, which encourages worldwide confidence in our official inspection results. GIPSA maintains reference methods for moisture, protein, oil, starch, mycotoxins, and fatty acid composition.



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