WASHINGTON –The Livestock and Seed Program’s Audit, Review and Compliance and Meat Grading and Certification Branches have consolidated, the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced. Named the Grading and Verification (GV) Division, the restructured organization is based in the Denver area and managed by Larry Meadows, division director, with Stephen Cave and James Riva as deputy directors. Cave will manage the financial, administrative and personnel functions, and Riva will oversee grading, certification and auditing services.

The GV Division provides official USDA grading for more than 20 billion lbs. of beef and 108 million lbs. of lamb each year through its meat graders. GV division certified auditors also provide verification services that facilitate the marketing of approximately $27 billion of agricultural commodities in domestic and world markets each year to more than 400 different commercial programs.

“The consolidation of the branches ensures AMS will continue to provide marketing services to the livestock and meat industry in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible,” said Rayne Pegg AMS Administrator. “We strongly believe that the merger will accent the best of both branches and position the program to increase the availability of innovative value-adding services to meet the emerging needs of an industry that is critical to the nation’s economy.”

For those using official USDA grading, auditing and certification services, the transition to the new GV Division will be seamless, AMS claimed. The GV Division will continue to provide the critical marketing services that communicate product attributes and differentiate products in the market place without interruption, it added.