October 3, 2019
USDA, AMS, Livestock & Poultry Program (L&P) rates for poultry grading services will increase October 1, 2019, as listed in a May 1, 2019, Federal Register notice. Scheduled (resident) grading will be $62 per hour, unscheduled (fee) grading will be $99 plus travel. Administrative volume charges have been discontinued.
L&P is required to charge user-fee customers a rate that covers all expenses for providing audit services, which include employee pay and benefits, non-billable travel, property, overhead, information technology, and related costs. L&P is also required to maintain a reserve balance sufficient to cover the expense to shut down the program should demand for services cease (no other fund sources can be used for user-fee programs.) Currently, less than two months of operating reserve exists – falling short of the 5-month requirement.
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Demand for service has increased and continued growth is expected.
The administrative volume charge (AVC), which had not been increased in 10 years, has been discontinued. The overhead costs that the AVC covered have been built into the hourly rates. This change accounts for a significant portion of the 2020 rate increase.
In FY 2018, L&P continued to invest in new billing and timekeeping systems, as well as IT equipment, to maintain quality of service and meet Federal requirements.
Fee Analysis calculated a Scheduled hourly charge of $74.00, and an Unscheduled rate of $136.00. The lower rates proposed for FY2020 will minimize the impact on customers while covering operating costs and beginning to build reserve.
Questions regarding L&P Meat Grading services and fees can be directed to Dana Stahl, Chief, Grading Services Branch, USDA-AMS, Livestock and Poultry Program, Phone (202) 690-3169 or Email Dana.Stahl@usda.gov
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