Ag Career Spotlight: Grain Inspector

Carrie Pendleton likes structure and rules, which makes her job with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Grain Regulation Branch a perfect fit. 

Carrie knew that she wanted to work in agriculture, specifically for the government. Her family raised beef cattle in Russell Springs, and many of her family members were in the armed forces. Both of those aspects paved the way for her career. 

Upon graduation from high school, Carrie entered the Air Force and worked in air craft maintenance for three years. She then studied Animal Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After graduation, she game back to Kentucky and held various jobs with the Cooperative Extension Service, local livestock markets, handling horses on a Thoroughbred farm, and providing equipment sales for Tarter Farm and Ranch. 

Carrie finally got her foot in the door at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in July 2009, and became an Agriculture Inspector II in Grain Regulation. This is a job not typically held by women, but she figured if she could climb on an airplane, she could climb a grain bin. 

The job requires Carrie to travel her territory east of I-65 to facilities that purchase, warehouse and sell grain. She licenses and regulates those businesses by auditing their grain storage and financial records to protect farmer assets. Her job is sanctioned by Kentucky law under KRS 251. 

She loves her job because of the people she meets and the ability to help farmers. She also likes the travel and the fact that she is not confined to an office very often. A lot of her outside work occurs in the spring and fall. 

If she had known she would be working in the grain industry, she would have studied more plant and soil science, but she was provided on-the-job training for six months. 

Her advice to young people is to have a strong work ethic and learn how to handle a lot of responsibility. Carrie does admit that being a woman in a regulatory field does have its challenges, so she has to be firm, but always fair. It also helps that she never enters a business without having a copy of the law with her. That is part of the appeal for Carrie, of working in government and being a rule follower.

“I love being part of something that is bigger than myself, and I know I am making a difference,” she said. “I would also tell young people to follow their passion. If you want something badly enough, you can have it!”

What is the purpose of the KDA Grain Regulation Branch?

The Grain Regulation Branch is responsible for administering inspections to ensure that producer grain and contractual agreements are secured and stable. The licensed grain business's financial and accounting records are audited to ensure that the farmers of the Commonwealth are being paid for their grain commodities. Anyone who buys or stores grain from producers is required to license.

The licensee is required to deduct 1/4 percent (.0025) of the value of grain purchased from producers. This assessment is paid to the Kentucky Grain Insurance Fund which provides insurance coverage to the participating producers in the case of a failure. At present, the Indemnity Fund is above the required $4 million, therefore, the 1/4 percent (.0025) is not being collected.