The Office of Markets (the precursor of the Agricultural Marketing Service) was established in 1913 and laid the foundation for today's poultry and egg market news, standardization, and grading activities. It was not until 1917, however, that these activities were authorized by legislation.
The acceptance and use of Federal grade standards evolved slowly until the advent of World War II, when food bought for the military was required to be graded or inspected because of the inconsistent quality of foods being delivered to U.S. troops. Producers, processors, and others soon learned that grading and inspection services, coupled with the ability to properly price their products through market news, provided them with needed tools to market and merchandise their products.
Many changes have occurred since then, including the consolidation of these functions into AMS' Poultry Programs. Yet, the basic grading, standardization, and market news programs initiated over 75 years ago remain intact and continue to play an important role in facilitating poultry and egg marketing, both nationally and internationally.