A new federal rule published on Wednesday, August 16 will mean U.S. beef importers will pay less in mandatory assessment fees. These fees go to a government programs that funds promotion and research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beef Promotion and Research Act, commonly called the beef checkoff program, is expected to collect about $1 million less for the rest of 2006 because of the change, USDA Chief of Marketing Programs Kenneth Payne said. USDA collects $1 per head of cattle on animals sold domestically or imported, but also assesses fees on imported beef that are paid by the importers.

Those fees are calculated on the amount imported and the average weight of cattle carcasses. The $1-per-head assessment on whole cattle will remain unchanged. The change raises the average weight to 592 pounds, up from 509 pounds.

The Cattlemen's Beef Board, which is approved by the USDA, collects about $80 million per year, of which about 10% comes from U.S. beef imports.