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Highlights

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a wide range of marketing and regulatory services. Marked differences exist in the degree to which recipients bear the costs of these services. As a result, certain sectors of the agricultural marketing industry are receiving preferential treatment at the taxpayers' expense.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status
Congress should repeal the Naval Stores Act.
Closed
Congress should repeal the Tobacco Seed and Plant Exportation Act of 1940.
Closed
Congress should discontinue providing special appropriations to defray a portion of the supervision costs incurred in the poultry and fresh fruit and vegetable grading programs.
Closed
Congress should either amend the User Charge Statute or enact new general user charge legislation to make it clear that an agency may set fees to recover the full cost of a program that primarily benefits identifiable users.
Closed
Congress should amend the Warehouse Act to provide for user funding of periodic USDA examinations. The amendment should require recovery of all program costs.
Closed
Congress should amend the Grain Standards Act, the Cotton Statistics and Estimates Act of 1927, and the Tobacco Inspection Act of 1935 to delete provisions that require appropriations funding and/or limit the use of user charges.
Closed
Congress should amend existing legislation to authorize USDA to charge importers fees which cover all costs of inspecting and testing imported birds (both commercial and pet) and other animals.
Closed
Congress should amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to require all federally inspected meat and poultry processing plants to develop and implement quality control systems.
Closed

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture 1. The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to charge user fees which cover the costs of phytosanitary inspections. The Administrator should do so either under the authority contained in the User Charge Statute or by seeking specific legislative authority.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Agriculture 2. The Secretary of Agriculture should direct that an independent study be made to develop objective criteria for setting and adjusting fees charged for plant variety certifications. The study should determine how much of total program costs could be passed on to applicants without severely limiting participation by applicants with limited financial resources. The Secretary should then direct the Administrator of APHIS to set and periodically adjust the certification fee on the basis of these criteria.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Agriculture 3. The Secretary of Agriculture should determine whether inspections of imported seed required under the Seed Act primarily benefit the seed importers. If so, the Secretary should propose to Congress amendments to the Act which would authorize user fees for the inspections. Upon enactment of the amendments, the Secretary should direct the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service to develop and implement a user charge.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Agriculture 4. The Secretary of Agriculture should direct that a study be made to determine the cost effectiveness of a user fee system for the USDA-printed market news reports. The study should be independent, made by individuals who are not under the Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Transportation Services. If the study shows that the administrative problems can be resolved and that the administrative costs would not be excessive, the Secretary should implement a fee system. If not, the Secretary should forward the study to OMB for resolution of differences between USDA and Department of Commerce funding methods.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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