The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is part of the United States federal government with primilary responsibility for matters related to agriculture, farming, forestry, and food. It also has a significant roles impacting rural communities beyond agriculture and on energy.
To implement its vision, USDA has created a strategic plan. The framework of this plan depends on these key activities:
- expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development;
- further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities;
- providing financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities and infrastructure in rural America;
- enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of foodborne hazards from farm to table;
- improving nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion, and
- managing and protecting America's public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.
USDA Agencies and Offices
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
AMS facilitates the strategic marketing of agricultural products in domestic and international markets while ensuring fair trading practices and promoting a competitive and efficient marketplace. AMS constantly works to develop new marketing services to increase customer satisfaction.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
ARS is USDA's principal in-house research agency. ARS leads America towards a better future through agricultural research and information.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
APHIS provides leadership in ensuring the health and care of animals and plants. The agency improves agricultural productivity and competitiveness and contributes to the national economy and the public health.
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP)
CNPP works to improve the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES)
In partnership with land-grant universities, and other public and private organizations, CREES provides the focus to advance a global system of extramural research, extension, and higher education in the food and agricultural sciences.
Economic Research Service (ERS)
ERS is USDA's principal social science research agency. Each year, ERS communicates research results and socioeconomic indicators via briefings, analyses for policymakers and their staffs, market analysis updates, and major reports.
Farm Service Agency (FSA)
The Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster and farm marketing programs through a national network of offices.
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
FNS increases food security and reduces hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence.
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
FSIS enhances public health and well-being by protecting the public from foodborne illness and ensuring that the nation's meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly packaged.
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
FAS works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products. This USDA agency operates programs designed to build new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace.
Forest Service (FS)
FS sustains the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)
GIPSA facilitates the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products. It also promotes fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture. GIPSA ensures open and competitive markets for livestock, poultry, and meat by investigating and monitoring industry trade practices.
National Agricultural Library (NAL)
NAL ensures and enhances access to agricultural information for a better quality of life.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
NASS serves the basic agricultural and rural data needs of the country by providing objective, important and accurate statistical information and services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and public officials. This data is vital to monitoring the ever-changing agricultural sector and carrying out farm policy.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment.
Risk Management Agency (RMA)
RMA helps to ensure that farmers have the financial tools necessary to manage their agricultural risks. RMA provides coverage through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, which promotes national welfare by improving the economic stability of agriculture.
Rural Development (RD)
RD helps rural areas to develop and grow by offering Federal assistance that improves quality of life. RD targets communities in need and then empowers them with financial and technical resources.
Departmental Administration (DA)
DA provides central administrative management support to Department officials and coordinates administrative programs and services.
National Appeals Division (NAD)
NAD conducts impartial administrative appeal hearings of adverse program decisions made by USDA and reviews of determinations issued by NAD hearing officers when requested by a party to the appeal.
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR)
OASCR's mission is to facilitate the fair and equitable treatment of USDA customers and employees, while ensuring the delivery and enforcement of civil rights programs and activities. ASCR ensures compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies for USDA customers and employees regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, political beliefs, parental status, protected genetic information, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all bases apply to all programs.)
Office of Budget and Program Analysis (OBPA)
OBPA provides centralized coordination and direction for the Department's budget, legislative and regulatory functions. It also provides analysis and evaluation to support the implementation of critical policies. OBPA administers the Department's budgetary functions and develops and presents budget-related matters to Congress, the news media, and the public.
Office of the Chief Economist (OCE)
OCE advises the Secretary on the economic situation in agricultural markets and the economic implications of policies and programs affecting American agriculture and rural communities. OCE serves as the focal point for economic intelligence and analysis related to agricultural markets and for risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis related to Departmental regulations affecting food and agriculture.
Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)
OCFO shapes an environment for USDA officials eliciting the high-quality financial performance needed to make and implement effective policy, management, stewardship, and program decisions.
Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
OCIO has the primary responsibility for the supervision and coordination of the design, acquisition, maintenance, use, and disposal of information technology by USDA agencies. OCIO's strategically acquires and uses information technology resources to improve the quality, timeliness and cost-effectiveness of USDA services.
Office of Communications (OC)
OC is USDA's central source of public information. The office provides centralized information services using the latest, most effective and efficient technology and standards for communication. It also provides the leadership, coordination, expertise, and counsel needed to develop the strategies, products, and services that are used to describe USDA initiatives, programs, and functions to the public.
Office of Congressional Relations (OCR)
OCR serves as the USDA's liaison with Congress. OCR works closely with members and staffs of various House and Senate Committees to communicate the USDA's legislative agenda and budget proposals.
Office of the Executive Secretariat (OES)
OES ensures that all Department officials are included in the correspondence drafting and policy-making process through a managed clearance and control system. Keeping policy officials informed of executive documents enhances the Secretary's ability to review sound and thought out policy recommendations before making final decisions.
Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
OIG investigates allegations of crime against the Department's program, and promotes the economy and efficiency of its operations.
Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is an independent legal agency that provides legal advice and services to the Secretary of Agriculture and to all other officials and agencies of the Department with respect to all USDA programs and activities.