Consumers and industry look for the USDA grade shields as trusted symbols of wholesome, high-quality American beef. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency responsible for grading, continues to explore ways to more efficiently conduct business. Most recently, we used beef instrumentation grading technology to initiate an audit-based Beef Grading Pilot Program at a facility in Toppenish, Washington in August 2012.
Although beef instrumentation grading technology has been in use for several years, it has not reduced the number of graders required at each grading facility until now. By working with the Meat Graders’ Union, we were able to come to an agreement to pilot a program that would have beef industry employees trained to interpret and apply the Official USDA Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef under the oversight of a USDA meat grader. Read more »
The Dairy eTDE system will streamline the paperwork for health certificates to improve our export certification efforts.
This year, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will start issuing electronic health and transit certificates for dairy products exported to the European Union (EU) via the electronic trade document exchange system (eTDE).
A content management system created to support the domestic and international trade of U.S. agricultural products, eTDE makes official certificates available online to health officials in foreign ports. The system was built with the help of funds from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Read more »
From produce, like these vine-ripened tomatoes, to processed foods like cheese and milk, additional testing requirements will help certifying agents identify cases where prohibited methods and substances are being used. Photo courtesy Jess Sanson.
This is the tenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.
In late 2012, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) announced a strengthened residue testing program to help increase consumer confidence in the $32 billion organic industry worldwide. Consumers purchase organic products expecting that they maintain their organic integrity from farm to market, and USDA is committed to meeting these expectations. This program will provide additional verification that organic farmers are following the rules and not using prohibited substances. Read more »
Infographic (click to see larger version) highlighting Valentine’s Day stats and figures.
It’s February 14th and love is in the air. This year more than half of us – nearly 60 percent according to the National Retail Federation – will celebrate Valentine’s Day in many different ways. But what do you get that special someone?
If you need some ideas, you may not need to look any further than your local newspaper. According to USDA Market News, which tracks market prices and trends, stores and retailers offer help by featuring some holiday favorites—roses, steak, lobster and strawberries—in their sale ads the week before the big day. Read more »
A dairy cow from Ronnybrook Dairy Farm. With the help of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s export certificates, dairy producers and manufacturers can send their products to 104 countries. Photo courtesy of Garrett Ziegler
Last year marked the first time in U.S. history that our dairy farmers produced more than 200 billion pounds of milk. This was the highest year over year increase since 2004-2005 and a 5.7 billion pound increase from the previous year. In recent years, more than two-thirds of the growing demand for U.S. farm milk has been for dairy exports. Read more »
Infographic (click to see larger version) outlining the differences between USDA’s beef grades.
The USDA grade shields are highly regarded as symbols of safe, high-quality American beef. Quality grades are widely used as a “language” within the beef industry, making business transactions easier and providing a vital link to support rural America. Consumers, as well as those involved in the marketing of agricultural products, benefit from the greater efficiency permitted by the availability and application of grade standards. Read more »