CHAPTER 456

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 3, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING THERETO A NEW CHAPTER 25, RELATING TO REQUIREMENTS OF LICENSES AND BONDS FOR DEALERS IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS; APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS; RECORDS AND INFORMATION TO BE KEPT; REASONS FOR REVOKING LICENSES; AND, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 3, Delaware Code, is amended by adding thereto a new Chapter 25 to read as follows:

CHAPTER 25. DEALERS IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

§ 2501. Definitions

The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this article.

(a) "Person" means any individual person, firm, partnership, corporation, association or syndicate, their lessees, trustees or receivers;

(b) "Dealer" means any person in Delaware who buys, sells, solicits for sale, processes for sale or resale, resells, exchanges, negotiates, purchases or contracts for processing or transfers any agricultural product of a producer. The term "dealer" shall exclude any duly incorporated agricultural co-operative association, persons who operate as cash buyers and any person who buys for wholesale or retail in Delaware;

(c) "Producer" means any person in Delaware who produces agricultural products;

(d) "Agricultural products" means vegetables, and the term "vegetables" for the purposes of this article shall be construed to include, but not by way of limitation, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, berries, and cucumbers;

(e) "Board" means the State Board of Agriculture;

(f) "Cash buyer" means any person who obtains from the producer or his representative, title, possession or control of any agricultural product or contracts for the title, possession or control of any agricultural product or who buys or agrees to buy any agricultural product by paying to the producer at the time of obtaining possession or control or at the time of contracting for the title, possession or control of any agricultural product, the full agreed price of such agricultural product in coin or currency, lawful money of the United States, certified checks, cashier's checks or drafts issued by a bank.

§ 2502. License required of dealer

It shall be unlawful for any dealer in agricultural products to operate and conduct a business without first having obtained a license as herein provided. The Board shall publish annually a list of licensed dealers under this Chapter.

§ 2503. Dealers licensed annually

Every dealer in agricultural products proposing to transact business within the State of Delaware shall on the effective date of this Act and annually on or before January first of each year, thereafter file a written application for a license or for the renewal of a license with the Board. The application shall be on a form furnished by the Board and shall contain the following information along with such other information as the Board shall require.

(a) The name and address of the applicant and that of its local agent or agents, if any, and the location of its principal place of business within this State.

(b) The kinds of agricultural products the applicant proposes to handle.

(c) The type of produce business proposed to be conducted.

§ 2504. License fee; bond required

All applications shall be accompanied by a license fee of ten dollars and a good and sufficient bond in the minimum sum of one thousand dollars or in such greater amount as is equal to the maximum amount of gross business done in any month in the State of Delaware during the preceding, year by the applicant, but in no event shall the amount of bond required exceed twenty thousand dollars.

§ 2505. Requirements of bond; bond form; action upon bond

The bond herein referred to shall be executed by the applicant as principal and, by, a surety company authorized and qualified to do business in this State as surety. The Board shall be designated as the trustee of this bond, and .a copy of this bond shall be filed with it. Such bond shall be upon a form prescribed or approved by the Board and shall be conditioned to secure the faithful accounting for payment to producers, agents or representatives, of all agricultural products purchased, handled or sold by the dealer. Any producer claiming to be injured by the nonpayment fraud, deceit or negligence of any dealer may bring action therefor upon the bond against the principal; or the surety, or both in any court of competent jurisdiction.

§ 2506. Renewal of license

Upon the application by evidence of payment of renewal premium continuing the bond herein required in full force and effect, and the payment of a fee of ten dollars on or before the first day of January following the date of expiration of any license hereunder issued. The application shall be entitled to renewal license to expire one year from the expiration of the old license.

§ 2507. Fees collected

All sums received by the Board for license fees and the renewals of the same shall be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the General Fund.

§ 2508. Dealer to keep records

It shall be the duty of, every dealer having received any agricultural product from a producer to make and keep a correct record and retain the same for two years, showing in detail the following with reference to the handling and/or sale of such agricultural products, along with such other information as the Board may require.

(a) The name and address of the producer;

(b) The date received;

(c) The condition, grade (if officially graded) and quantity on receipt;

(d) The date of resale or transfer of the products to another;

(e) The price at which purchased and sold.

§ 2509. Board's authority to investigate

Upon the written complaint of any producer, the Board or its duly authorized agents shall have the authority to investigate the books and records pertaining to such complaint of any dealer in agricultural products at any time during business hours and shall have free access to the place at which the business is operated.

§ 2510. Board may refuse or revoke licenses

The Board may refuse to grant a license or may revoke any license already granted, as the, case may be, when it is satisfied as to the existence of any of the following causes:

(a) The dealer has suffered a money judgment to be entered against him upon which execution has been returned unsatisfied;

(b) The dealer has failed to promptly and properly account and pay for agricultural products;

(c) The dealer has made a false or misleading statement as to market conditions or the service rendered, if any, with the intent to defraud;

(d) The dealer has perpetrated a fraud or engaged in deceit in procuring the license;

(e) The dealer has engaged in any fraudulent or deceitful practices in his dealings with producers.

§ 2511. Penalty

Any person who shall violate the provisions of this Chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof for the first offense shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or be confined in jail for a period not exceeding six months, or both; and upon conviction of a second offense shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or be confined in jail for a period not exceeding one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Approved August 9, 1968.