The Department of Agriculture Should Be Authorized To Charge for Cotton Classing and Tobacco Grading Services

CED-77-105: Published: Aug 2, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 1977.

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The provision of free cotton classing and tobacco grading to producers is inconsistent with the government's policy of charging fees for special services and the practice of charging for grading other commodities.

Most agricultural commodities, other than cotton and tobacco, are graded by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a reimbursable basis. In fiscal year 1976, USDA spent $66.2 million grading commodities. Of this, $48.5 million was recovered, primarily through charges to those using the services. Of the $17.7 million not recovered, $11.2 million represented cotton classing and tobacco grading services provided without charge to producers. The original reasons for providing free tobacco grading and cotton classing services are no longer applicable. Cotton classing and tobacco grading do provide special benefits to the producers because the producers are now paid on the basis of grades assigned to the commodities.

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