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USDA Final Rule on Grading Fee Increase ‘Responsive to Our Requests’

Jun 26, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) announced yesterday that it will publish the “Final Rule to Increase the Fees for Voluntary Federal Dairy Grading and Inspection Services” in the Federal Register June 27.  This final rule increases the fees charged for voluntary dairy grading and inspection services by 10 percent, except for derogations, starting August 1, 2013. They will increase an additional 10 percent on February 1, 2014. 

IDFA submitted comments to the proposed rule in February, saying the proposed increases would be acceptable to dairy companies as long as they are phased in at a reasonable level and within a reasonable timeframe. Specifically, IDFA requested a rate lower than the proposed increase of 15 percent.

"Our members understand the need for AMS to increase fees to avoid a reduction in services offered to the dairy industry. In our comments, we asked for a more reasonable increase, spread over a longer period of time, in smaller increments to account for inflation," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs. “We are pleased to see that USDA understood our concerns and framed the final rule to be responsive to our requests.”

IDFA filed the comments in response to the department's proposed rule to increase the fees for voluntary federal dairy grading and inspection services. Because many IDFA members sell products to the federal government for use in food assistance programs or for export to other countries, they must be inspected under the AMS Dairy Grading and Inspection program. That means these companies don't have the option to discontinue or reduce inspection or grading services as the costs increase.

The fees associated with derogation requests, which are requests for exemptions regarding the European Union Health Certification Program, will remain the same, USDA said.

The pre-publication version of the final rule is available here. The published version will be available Friday at

For more information, contact Frye at


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