Can grain of Canadian origin receive an official U.S. grade?
Yes, but official inspection of Canadian grain entering the United States is not required.
Grain, as defined by the U.S. Grain Standards Act, means corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley,
flaxseed, grain sorghum, soybeans, mixed grain and any other food grains, feed grains and
oilseeds for which standards are established under 7 U.S.C. Section 76. You can find the
Official U.S. Standards for Grain here: www.gipsa.usda.gov/fgis/handbook/BK2/BookII_2016-05-25.pdf.
Typically, when Canadian grain arrives by truck at a local U.S. elevator, an “unofficial” grain
sample (that is, taken by an individual not licensed by USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection
Service “FGIS”) will be taken from the truck either by probe or an end-gate sample. The
sample will typically be tested for dockage, test weight, moisture and protein. More tests
may or may not be done depending on the physical appearance of the sample and the
experience of the crop year. For example, if conditions have been conducive to sprout
damage, a falling numbers test may be done. Likewise, a test for DON (vomitoxin) might be
conducted if conditions warrant. Other factors that could be graded include dark, hard
vitreous, (DHV) damage, shrunken and broken kernels. Elevators that load rail shuttles tend
to have more sophisticated testing equipment, and in some cases “official” grain inspection
agencies, designated by FGIS, may have a satellite office at some train loading stations.
Such offices are authorized by FGIS to make an official determination of all official U.S.
grade factors. Smaller elevators would typically send samples to a lab for falling number
and DON tests. All U.S. locations should be expected to grade according to U.S. factors and
grading scales. Unless an “official” grain inspection agency is available, grade and factor
determination will generally be conducted by personnel hired by the elevator. If there is a
question about a particular grade or factor within a grade, there may be an opportunity for
a representative sample to be drawn and submitted to an “official” agency or some other
qualified third party at a different location. The delivering farmer should expect to pay a
reasonable fee for the “official” grade determination. (Specific rights regarding grade
determination may vary by state and Canadian farmers should become familiar with their
rights and obligations under various state laws.)
USDA/FGIS official inspection agencies can be located at this website: