In comments filed yesterday, IDFA said proposed increases in grading fees administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be acceptable to dairy companies as long as they are phased in at a reasonable level and within a reasonable timeframe. IDFA recommended an increase of five percent, not the proposed 15 percent, and asked for the increases to be delayed until 2014 to give companies time to budget for them.
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.
"IDFA members understand the need for AMS to increase fees to avoid a reduction in services offered to the dairy industry. However, IDFA believes the increases proposed by USDA's AMS are not aligned with the cost containment efforts of companies within the industry," the comments said. "It is our belief that a more reasonable increase, spread over a longer period of time, in smaller increments is needed to account for inflation."
Some members provided IDFA with details on their use of grading services and the expected impact of the fees increase. Read the full comments here.
For more information, contact Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.