An April 30 notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service included 2019 rates that will be charged for “voluntary grading, inspection, certification, verification and laboratory services for a variety of agricultural commodities – including fruits, vegetables and specialty crops.”
A release from AMS said, “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).”
In addition, the new annual rates have been published in a Federal Register notice. The costs are intended to cover costs incurred by AMS to provide these services and to maintain operating reserves for each program as mandated by Congress.
“On Nov. 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,” the release said.
Current rates are on the AMS website, https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grading/fees, and the new rates are indicated below.
Additional information is available on the Specialty Crops Program webpage: https://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/specialty-crops-program