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(1) The department of agriculture, pursuant to 80-3-311 and 80-3-315 , MCA, adopts grade standards and inspection procedures to enforce those grades as further set out in these rules. For the purposes of grading certified seed potatoes, the department hereby adopts by reference the United States Standards for Grades of Potatoes as specified in 7 CFR Part 51 sections 1540 through 1566 of the January 1, 1998 edition with the exceptions specified in ARM 4.12.3501 through 4.12.3504.

(2) All seed potatoes shall be shipped under tags that represented all grade and classes to which they were sorted and certified.

(3) Final pack inspection.

(a) all Montana certified seed potatoes sold in bulk or offered for sale in bags shall be inspected by a federal or federal-state inspector. The final inspection shall be made before potatoes are moved from the loading point. If the potatoes do not meet the final grade requirements, the grade certificate shall not be issued unless the potatoes are regraded to meet the requirements. Standard method of loading shall be used when loading trucks and/or railroad cars, or bulk shipments; and

(b) federal and federal-state grade inspectors are granted authority at any or all times to call in a potato specialist from the Montana state university (MSU) extension potato certification program if they suspect grower(s) are not handling certified seed potatoes in accordance with guidelines set forth by the MSU extension potato certification program, or if they suspect potatoes inspected do not conform in other respects with the requirements of MSU extension potato certification program. However, under no circumstances shall the department be held responsible for enforcing MSU extension potato certification program guidelines and procedures, and any failure to review for such compliance shall not be construed as approving for MSU extension potato certification program guidelines.

(4) Issuance of an official grade certificate by the department shall mean approval for department grading standards only.

(5) Official tags shall be issued by MSU extension potato certification program officials to the applicant or a designated agent. No mutilation of official tags by writing or marking over, or otherwise altering original information printed thereon, shall be permitted unless requested in writing by the grower and approved by the department of agriculture.

(6) The grower, to whom the official tags were issued, shall be responsible for the proper completion of the tags.

(7) Each lot of certified seed potatoes shall be inspected by either federal or federal-state inspectors at the time of shipment.

(8) Ungraded potatoes shall not be inspected.

(9) Washing of certified seed potatoes to be tagged with an official tag shall not be permissible unless requested by the buyer. Presence of soil on tubers shall not constitute reason for throwing them out of the grade. Grower should allow for weight of soil when packaging potatoes for sale.

(10) It shall be permissible to use official tags on potatoes containing an excess of oversize, undersize, and/or sprouts providing that the official grade certificate indicates that the potatoes exceed the tolerance. It shall be the responsibility of the grower to submit written evidence that the purchaser is willing to accept such a grade.

History: Sec. 80-3-110, MCA; IMP, Sec. 80-3-104, 80-3-105, 80-3-109, MCA; NEW, 1985 MAR p. 1146, Eff. 8/16/85; AMD, 1987 MAR p. 368, Eff. 4/17/87; AMD, 1988 MAR p. 2562, Eff. 12/9/88; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 1505, Eff. 7/2/99.

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