Kansas agriculture agency rethinks scale changes
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP)—Kansas agriculture officials are rethinking a new provision that would require competitors to review each other’s large scale operations after criticism is raised by technicians.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/12aeBXd) that Tim Tyson, head of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures, sent a letter recently to scale technicians recognizing concerns. The state held a meeting with technicians about the change in regulations.
“We listened to your concerns, but especially were interested in the comments and discussion regarding the proposal to require a third-party inspection of all new large scale installations beginning July 1, 2013,’’ Tyson wrote.
The change was to go into effect July 1 but will be delayed. It would have required competitors review scale operations and certify it for service. Some raised concerns that such a practice would void the scale manufacturer’s product warranty.
It also raised questions about who would be responsible for liability if there were problems with the scales after installation and certification.
Other raised questions about having competitors with a vested financial interest luring new customers to evaluate their work.
Technicians were asked to continue to provide Tyson and the agriculture division with more feedback on proposed changes. Tyson wrote that the goal of “compliance and accountability in the program remains a priority.’’
The Division of Weights and Measures developed the review requirement after a series of articles by the Capital-Journal uncovered above-normal levels of inaccuracies in large scales in Kansas. The devises, about 4,000 across Kansas, are used to weigh scrap metal, recycling materials and agricultural products.
The Capital-Journal reported that state inspectors approved only 19 of the 72 heavy-capacity scales between July 2012 and February 2013. Almost half the scales did not meet state accuracy standards.
Tyson told a meeting of technicians on June 26 that the state was committed to improving the accuracy rate of scales in Kansas from 62 percent to 80 percent over the next year. Fines and license suspensions would be imposed for sub-standard work.
Problems with the accuracy of large scales in Kansas were documented in an audit completed in 1996, which recommended a number of changes to the program to improve accuracy and compliance with state regulations.