U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 04, 2022
(a) Mandatory acceptance. A person must accept a rated order in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Except as otherwise specified in this section, a person must accept every rated order received and must fill such orders regardless of any other rated or unrated orders that have been accepted.
(2) A person must not discriminate against rated orders in any manner such as by charging higher prices or by imposing different terms and conditions than for comparable unrated orders.
(b) Mandatory rejection. Unless otherwise directed by USDA for a rated order involving food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, or the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer:
(1) A person must not accept a rated order for delivery on a specific date if unable to fill the order by that date. However, the person must inform the customer of the earliest date on which delivery can be made and offer to accept the order on the basis of that date. Scheduling conflicts with previously accepted lower rated or unrated orders are not sufficient reason for rejection in this section.
(2) A person must not accept a DO-rated order for delivery on a date that would interfere with delivery of any previously accepted DO- or DX-rated orders. However, the person must offer to accept the order based on the earliest delivery date otherwise possible.
(3) A person must not accept a DX-rated order for delivery on a date that would interfere with delivery of any previously accepted DX-rated orders, but must offer to accept the order based on the earliest delivery date otherwise possible.
(4) If a person is unable to fill all of the rated orders of equal priority status received on the same day, the person must accept, based upon the earliest delivery dates, only those orders that can be filled, and reject the other orders. For example, a person must accept order A requiring delivery on December 15 before accepting order B requiring delivery on December 31. However, the person must offer to accept the rejected orders based on the earliest delivery dates otherwise possible.
(5) A person must reject the rated order if the person is prohibited by Federal law from meeting the terms of the order.
(c) Optional rejection. Unless otherwise directed by USDA for a rated order involving food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, or the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer, rated orders may be rejected in any of the following cases as long as a supplier does not discriminate among customers:
(1) If the person placing the order is unwilling or unable to meet regularly established terms of sale or payment;
(2) If the order is for an item not supplied or for a service not capable of being performed;
(3) If the order is for an item or service produced, acquired, or provided only for the supplier's own use for which no orders have been filled for 2 years prior to the date of receipt of the rated order. If, however, a supplier has sold some of these items or provided similar services, the supplier is obligated to accept rated orders up to that quantity or portion of production or service, whichever is greater, sold or provided within the past 2 years;
(4) If the person placing the rated order, other than the Federal Government, makes the item or performs the service being ordered;
(5) If acceptance of a rated order or performance against a rated order would violate any other regulation, official action, or order of USDA, issued under the authority of the Defense Production Act or another relevant law.
(d) Customer notification requirements. A person in receipt of a rated order is required to provide to the customer placing the order written or electronic notification of acceptance or rejection of the order.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a person must accept or reject a rated order in writing or electronically within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of a DO-rated order and within ten (10) working days after receipt of a DX-rated order. If the order is rejected, the person must give reasons in writing or electronically for the rejection.
(2) If a person has accepted a rated order and subsequently finds that shipment or performance will be delayed, the person must notify the customer immediately, give the reasons for the delay, and advise of a new shipment or performance date. If notification is given verbally, written or electronic confirmation must be provided within 5 working days.
(e) Exception for emergency preparedness conditions. If the rated order is placed for the purpose of emergency preparedness and includes the additional statement as specified in § 789.12(a)(4)(ii), a person must accept or reject a rated order and send the acceptance or rejection in writing or in an electronic format:
(1) Within 6 hours after receipt of the order if the order is issued in response to a hazard that has occurred; or
(2) Within the greater of 12 hours or the time specified in the order, if the order is issued to prepare for an imminent hazard.