AMS Publishes Updated User Fees
The AMS provides voluntary grading, inspection, laboratory, audit and certification services for fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops, and for meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, cotton and other products. By using AMS services, consumers and businesses alike are assured that an impartial, unbiased third-party has assessed the quality and verified various aspects of their products. Through the delivery of its programs, AMS facilitates the marketing of more than $150 billion worth of American agricultural products each year.
AMS is a predominantly user fee-funded agency. In keeping with its commitment to cost-effectiveness and transparency, in 2014, AMS streamlined its fee-setting process by publishing in the Code of Federal Regulations the formulas the Agency uses to set fees. Subsequently, AMS began announcing its annual user-fee adjustments in a single Federal Register notice published on June 1 each year. The new process reduces the number of regulations published, supports USDA’s goals of being more open and transparent and helps customers better plan for the cost of services. The fee adjustment is required for AMS to continue its mission of administering programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops, and ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers.
Under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, AMS must collect fees to cover the cost of providing its voluntary, user-fee funded services. To meet this mandate, AMS is adjusting fees for the inspection, grading, and certification for fruits, vegetables, and specialty items for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Last year, after 10 years without a fee adjustment, the agency implemented a 10 percent increase in fees for these services. The adjustment lessened a significant budget shortfall but did not result in full cost recovery for the program. This year, it is implementing a 15 percent increase in specialty crops inspection fees. The following fee adjustments will become effective on October 1, 2017.
The latest fee adjustments are posted in the Federal Register. For more information about specialty crops inspection fees, please contact Christopher Purdy or at 202-720-3209.