WASHINGTON – Members of the Agricultural Marketing Service beef instrument grading implementation team were among those honored Aug. 3 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for its service and achievements in the 64th Annual U.S. Department of Agriculture Honor Awards Ceremony.

A.M.S. employees who were part of the team receiving the honor include: William Charles, Darrell Dowd, Randall Foland, Joel Gottlieb, Richard Johnson, Larry McMurdie, Larry Meadows, Martin O’Connor, Cecil Rains, Kerry Smith, Stephen Whisenant, Paul Wiggins and Lawrence Yates. The Honor Awards, which were created in 1947, are among the most prestigious awards given by U.S.D.A.

Much of the U.S. beef supply chain depends on official U.S.D.A. beef grades to determine value and to negotiate product pricing. Because of this, employees of the A.M.S. Livestock and Seed Program have worked diligently over the last decade to analyze and integrate technology into meat grading, Vilsack said.

“U.S.D.A. is the ‘Every Day, Every Way’ department because of the incredible breadth and complexity of the impact that our employees make on the nation, and today, I am proud to honor those employees who have gone above and beyond in their work which benefits beef producers, marketers, retailers and consumers,” he added.

“It is always a privilege to see our employees recognized for their accomplishments,” said Rayne Pegg, A.M.S. administrator. “The honorees have gone above and beyond their call of duty in carrying out the agency’s mission in enhancing a valuable service to the beef industry. This team represents only a part of our effort in serving U.S. agricultural by a very capable and dedicated work force.”