USDA Initiates Grading Pilot Program for Beef Producers

The program is intended to facilitate the use of USDA’s grading and certification by small, independent processors.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a pilot program this month, the Remote Grading Pilot for Beef, to enhance market access for cattle producers and meat processors through the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) beef quality grading and certification. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed the technology and data management that will allow a USDA grader to remotely assess beef carcass characteristics and assign the official quality grade to reduce barriers such as costs and location for participation in voluntary grading services.

“On average, a beef carcass that grades as USDA Prime is valued at hundreds of dollars more than an ungraded carcass, but costs for this voluntary USDA service often prevents smaller scale processors and the farmers and ranchers they serve from using this valuable marketing tool,” Secretary Vilsack said. “This remote grading pilot opens the door for additional packers and processors to receive grading and certification services allowing them to access new, better, and more diverse marketing opportunities.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Vilsack to receive God’s direction as he heads the USDA.
  • For USDA officials as they seek to increase participation in the department’s grading and certification of meat.

Sources: Department of Agriculture

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