USB Travel Guidelines for Contractors

It must be established that there is a checkoff-related purpose for the travel. It must be related to a project, that has been approved by the Directors and USDA, that includes a budget for travel or that must be pre-approved by USB or the appropriate Program Manager. If it involves travel to a state association or industry meeting, the specific purpose of the trip and the checkoff-related activity that will be conducted must be clearly identified. All personnel will fly as noted in the Air Travel section below.

For contractors, a daily limit of $120 shall be placed on personal out-of-town meal costs and tips unless otherwise approved by the Treasurer. If a meal is purchased as a group, then the per capita cost of that meal shall be charged against each individual’s $120 daily limit. The traveler shall submit itemized receipts for any expenses in excess of $25.

Expenses will be reimbursed from the time an individual departs from home or office until the individual returns, assuming direct travel to and from the destination. If the trip is combined with other travel, costs are to be prorated based on time spent on Board projects. Itemized receipts are required for all commercial travel, lodging, meals, transportation and any individual expenses in excess of $25. Credit card statements are not acceptable.

Guidelines for reimbursement of travel expenses are as follows:

1. Air Travel: Domestic travel will be at the round-trip “coach” rate or the most economical fare available, reserved at least seven days in advance. International travel will be purchased at least 14 days in advance of the flight. (Exceptions must be approved by the USB in advance of the trip.) A receipt for the ticket when individually paid should be attached to the voucher when requesting reimbursement. When flying to meetings, mileage will be reimbursed to and from the most economical commercial airport.

  • On nonrefundable airline tickets, if an emergency arises that keeps a contractor from using the ticket, USB may pay the cost of the nonrefundable ticket subject to the approval of the USB Treasurer.
  • Business class is permitted for international flights in excess of eight hours (scheduled travel time); up to two hours of a layover period may be included in the calculation.
  • Cost justification of business class, with qualifying documented flight time, must be submitted with final project report, trip report or expense reimbursement form.

2. Auto: The current Federal reimbursement mileage rate should be used. Round-trip mileage reimbursement will be limited to the most direct route to and from a USB function. When flying to meetings, mileage will be reimbursed to and from the most economical commercial airport. If electing to travel by car, total reimbursement for mileage, meals and lodging shall not exceed two days’ travel each way (one night out each way) unless prior approval is given by USB.

3. Lodging: Reimbursement of lodging expenses should be reasonable and should be at rates comparable to a standard, single-occupancy room at a national business-class hotel. If at a USB function, reimbursement is limited to the hotel’s authorized group room rate for one individual. Lodging receipt(s) must be attached to the voucher when individually paid and requesting reimbursement.

4. Meals: Actual food and beverage expenses will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $120 per day, including tips. Where meals are provided at a USB function, a prorated amount per day is available. The recommended allocation of the daily meal limit is as follows:

  • Breakfast and lunch should each account for one-quarter of the daily limit.
  • Dinner should account for one-half of the daily limit.
  • For instance, if USB provides breakfast and lunch, one-half of the $120 or $60 is available.

5. Personal Expenses: No expenses of a personal nature will be approved, i.e., movies, liquor, tobacco, magazines, books, laundry (unless traveler is continually traveling for more than five days or is requested by USB to stay over longer than originally intended), etc.

6. Mileage: IRS official rate.

7. Telephone: USB will only cover business calls. Detailed billing statements should be provided. One personal call home daily, if reasonable, is allowed.

8. Primary contractor spousal/companion travel or any other contractor spousal/companion costs will not reimbursed by USB.

9. Travel time will not be billed.

10. USB is entitled to request a written trip report describing trip purpose and accomplishments for any travel.