The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) this week announced the 2019 rates it will charge for voluntary grading, inspection, certification, verification, and laboratory services for a variety of agricultural commodities including meat, poultry, and shell eggs.  Agricultural businesses seek out these services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country.  The new rates for these services take effect starting October 1, 2019 (Fiscal Year 2020).

Annual rates were published on April 30 in a Federal Register notice.  The rates are intended to cover costs incurred by AMS to provide these services and to maintain operating reserves for each program as mandated by Congress.  AMS continues to phase in some rate adjustments over a multi-year period to reduce the impact on industry operations.

The rate for meat commitment service will increase from $74.00 an hour to $84.00 an hour (scheduled/commitment regular time), and the rate for poultry and shell egg resident service will increase from $52.00 an hour to $62.00 an hour (scheduled/resident regular time).  Other rates that change based on those baseline figures (night differential, overtime, etc.) are also adjusted accordingly.

The rate for audit services will increase from $108.00 an hour to $115.00 an hour.

On November 13, 2014, the USDA published a final rule in the Federal Register that established standardized formulas for calculating the fees charged by AMS user-funded programs (79 FR 67313).  Since then, AMS has published the user fee rates through a unified process for setting fees across all of its voluntary user fee programs.

Current rates are on the AMS website.  The new rates are indicated below.

Meat Fees

7 CFR Part 54 – Meats, Prepared Meats, and Meat Products (Grading, Certification, and Standards)

Subpart A-Regulations;

§§54.27 – 54.28  Charges for Service

RegularOvertimeHolidayIncludes Travel Costs in RateStart Date
Commitment/Scheduled[1] Grading$84.00$103.00$121.00XOct 1, 2019
Non-commitment/Unscheduled Grading$114.00$132.00$154.00Oct 1, 2019
Scheduled, Night Differential (6 pm – 6 am)$93.00$113.00$121.00XOct 1, 2019
7 CFR Part 62 – Livestock, Meat and Other Agricultural Commodities (Quality Systems Verification Programs)
Subpart A- Quality Systems Verification Definitions
§62.300  Fees and Other Costs for Service
RegularOvertimeHolidayIncludes Travel Costs in RateStart Date
Auditing Activities$115.00Oct 1, 2019
Poultry Fees

7 CFR Part 56 – Voluntary Grading of Shell Eggs

Subpart A-Grading of Shell Eggs;

§§56.45 – 56.54  Fees and Charges

7 CFR Part 70 – Voluntary Grading of Poultry and Rabbit Products

Subpart A-Grading of Poultry and Rabbit Products;

§§70.70 – 70.78  Fees and Charges

RegularOvertimeHolidayIncludes Travel Costs in RateStart Date
Resident/Scheduled[2] Service (in-plant)$62.00[3]$80.003$97.003XOct 1, 2019

Resident/Scheduled, Night Differential

(6 pm – 6 am)

$68.003$89.003$97.003XOct 1, 2019
Resident/Scheduled, Sunday Differential$79.003$103.003N/AXOct 1, 2019
Resident/Scheduled, Sunday and Night Differential$88.003$114.003N/AXOct 1, 2019
Fee Service/Unscheduled)$99.00$122.00$147.00Oct 1, 2019
Audit Service$115.00Oct 1, 2019


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