The Knowledge Resource for the World of Grain Handling and Processing Industry Operations

GEAPS 522: FGIS Grain Inspection Orientation

2020 course offerings

Course Description: This course introduces professional grain handling and processing operations personnel to the basics of grain inspection. Specially developed by the USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service in conjunction with GEAPS and Kansas State University, it provides participants with a history of grain inspection and an overview of general inspection techniques. The lectures will cover grain marketing and production, the U.S. Grain Standards Act and other legislation, an outline of grain inspection including a video inspection lab tour, grain quality factors and sampling and a look at the official weighing program.

Course Goals: GEAPS 522 aims to enhance grain handling and processing industry professionals’ basic knowledge and skills related to grain inspection. By the end of this course, students will have a solid understanding of grain inspection legislation and laws.

Target Audience: This course was designed for merchandisers, facility managers, exporters and anyone who needs to learn more about the U.S. grain inspection and marketing system. It will be especially helpful to those just beginning their careers in the grain industry, but students of all experience levels will find this knowledge useful in almost any grain-industry endeavor.


John Sharpe, Retired USDA Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) Senior Executive | Show Bio

Mr. Sharpe spent 30 years in various leadership positions with GIPSA. His leadership positions included director of the compliance division, where he was responsible for the review and designation of official agencies and for GIPSA field officers to ensure consistent and accurate inspection results to the grain industry. Before retiring, John was director of the Technical Services Division, responsible for maintaining the agency’s central reference methods to ensure uniform inspection results nationwide, and for the agency’s research and development activities to meet new and emerging testing needs.

The Course of Study

Week 1
Lecture 1 – Grain Production and Marketing
This lecture will provide the following overviews to familiarize students with grain production and marketing: commercial production and uses of standardized grains with major and minor crops; factors that affect grain quality during production, harvest, and storage with the domestic, export and global market including world grain standards; and how grain moves through the market channels from producer to end user.

Lecture 2 – Grain Marketing Legislation
This lecture gives an overview of the legislation enacted to standardize the trading of grain in the U.S. The lecture covers the problems the legislation was originally intended to address and how they impact grain marketing today. It will also touch on the history of grain legislation, the importance of grain standards and examples of why the U.S. Grain Standards Act exists, the amendments to the USGSA, a look at the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and its purpose, as well as the U.S. Warehouse Act and its role in the grain industry.

Week 2
Lecture 3 – The U.S. Grain Standards Act (In Plain English)
This lecture reviews the Grain Standards Act section-by-section, with simple explanations of the intent, purpose and meaning of each section. Students will become familiar with the congressional findings, definitions, standards and procedures of the Act. At the completion of this lecture, students will understand how individual sections of the USGSA impact the grain marketing system. Students will also have a clear understanding of the actions and activities individuals and entities are prohibited from engaging in and the civil and criminal penalties that may result from committing prohibited acts.

Lecture 4 – Industry Trading Rules
This lecture provides an overview of industry trading rules and how they interact with official inspection. Students will become familiar with the main trading rules governing commercial transactions for weighing and grading grain, including a brief history of trading rules and how they were established, how they are used in domestic and export grain transactions, and how disputes are settled. Students will become familiar with the main trading rules governing commercial transactions for grain by-products and understand the relationship between official inspections and industry trading rules. Topics will include both the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) contracts and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) contracts, as well as other trading rules that reference official inspection.

Week 3
Lecture 5 – Overview of Grain Inspection
This lecture explains how grain quantity and quality are determined, from the house grader to the official system, so that individuals know who to contact with questions on the system. Students will know the entities involved in the determination of grain quantity and quality from the house grader to the official system and learn the roles of the governmental organizations in grain marketing, and learn about resources available to industry graders.

Lecture 6 – The Regulations Under the U.S. Grain Standards Act; Part 800 and Part 810
This lecture will contain a section-by- section review of Parts 800 and 810 under the USGSA, what they are, and how they were modified. It will provide students with a brief overview of the Standards Act, Part 800 general regulations, purpose, amendments and enforcement. In the second part of the lecture, Part 810: The Official United States Standards for Grain will be covered. Students will understand how Part 810 was created and modified, what grains have established standards and where to find them in regulations and what information is included in a standard.

Week 3
Lecture 7 – Grain Quality Factors
This lecture will review factors used to indicate grain quality. It primarily covers factors generally recognized as lowering quality, factors that describe quality such as protein and oil and genetically modified organisms, which have had a controversial impact on perceived quality. It will highlight different factors used to indicate grain quality including production, harvesting issues and storage issues.

Lecture 8 – Sampling
This two-part lecture will cover the importance of grain sampling, from methods and techniques used, to the statistical basis for grain-sampling procedures. Students will understand why we sample, bulk grain sampling methods used for various methods of transportation, and learn about sampling equipment, how to obtain a representative sample, how to sample grain and other commodities in smaller containers and additional sampler responsibilities including sampling for aflatoxin testing and sampling non-uniform lots. In the second part of the lecture, students will learn why official sampling procedures are not always practical for those who market and store grain at country points, and be given alternative methods for obtaining samples that can be used by unofficial inspection personnel.

Week 4
Lecture 9 – Grain Inspection Lab Tour
This lecture is a video tour of a grain inspection lab focusing first on the equipment used in inspection, and then looking at the reference methods and calibration processes behind the technology. It will familiarize students with the science behind measurement technology and the equipment used to measure grain quality factors.

Lecture 10 – Official Inspection Services
This is a two part lecture that covers the inspection process, starting with the kinds and levels of inspection, with special emphasis given to the review-inspection process. The lecture also provides a look at a typical sample-lot inspection, a brief overview of other inspection-related services available from GIPSA, CuSum inspection for export vessels and unit trains and other inspection related services. In the second part of this lecture, students will learn simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use procedures for inspecting grain that can be implemented at country elevators and other first points of delivery.

Week 5
Lecture 11 – Inspection Variability
In this lecture, quality control processes and their effects on variability and statistical thinking will be an introduced. The course will provide students with language and tools used to evaluate processes, a background understanding of the logic of processes, consequences of failing to follow procedures and the ability to make statistically sound process improvements.

Lecture 12 – Weighing Program
This lecture provides a look at the official weighing program and covers mandatory weighing for export grain and intercompany inbound barges. The overview will use Class X procedures and permissive weighing for domestic grain shipments using Class X or Class Y procedures. Also in the lecture is a review of the various types of scales used for official weighing and how they are tested.