Getting Started

For more information on USDA Meat Grading Service eligibility, participation requirements for the RGP Pilot, and how to get started, refer to the RGP Pilot Guide to Getting Started (pdf)

For the purposes of the RGP Pilot, the following document will serve to guide the roles are responsibilities of the Applicant and USDA.


To receive USDA voluntary grading and certification services, a beef slaughter facility must comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act and operate under a USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) grant of inspection, an FSIS-approved Cooperative Interstate Shipping (CIS)Program, or under an FSIS-State cross-utilization agreement (known as Talmadge-Aiken, or TA, inspection).

Requesting Service

A request for service must be filed on the Application for Service (LP-109) and an Accounts Payable Information Request (LP-109A). See also How to Apply for Service and Service Fees

Initial Site Visit

Once the Application for Service is approved, AMS-LP will schedule an initial on-site visit to conduct a Grading Plant Survey and review the RGP Pilot requirements and procedures. The AMS representative will review product preparation and presentation, image capture and data submission, and SOPs for identification and control of officially graded product.

Surveillance and Compliance

AMS employes robust oversight of RGP Pilot activities to maintain integrity in the USDA Meat Grading Services, including metadata capture and review, frequent records reviews, on-site surveillance visits, and open and continuous communication and support for pilot participants. AMS-LP reserves the right to conduct additional site visits on a for cause basis.

Consistent with AMS current safeguards for protecting the integrity of USDA’s grading programs and the USDA Grade Mark, AMS may also conduct site visits at facilities and/or the retail establishments they supply to trace product graded to product sold, as currently required for compliance with under Public Law 272.

Cost Considerations

The Agricultural Marketing Service Livestock and Poultry Program (AMS-LP) is required by law to recover the costs of voluntary USDA Meat Grading and Certification. View our current fees for service.

The RGP Pilot is one of several options available for securing USDA Meat Grading Service. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Understanding Meat Grading materials and discuss options with AMS-LP prior to submitting a Request for Service.