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Department of Agriculture

POSTED: January 04, 2009, 12:00 am

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Secretary: Tom Vilsack
Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
202.720.4623
www.usda.gov








Role:
The Secretary of Agriculture is charged with overseeing all activities related to the Department, reporting directly to the President.

Background: The Department of Agriculture works to improve and maintain farm income and to develop and expand markets abroad for agricultural products. The Department helps to curb and to cure poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. It works to enhance the environment and to maintain production capacity by helping landowners protect the soil, water, forests, and other natural resources. Rural development, credit and conservation programs are key resources for carrying out national growth policies. Department research findings directly or indirectly benefit all Americans. The Department, through inspection and grading services, safeguards and ensures standards of quality in the daily food supply.

Historical Note: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) was created by act of May 15, 1862 (7 U.S.C. 2201).


Areas under Jurisdiction:

Rural Development

USDA’s rural development mission is to assist rural Americans to increase their economic opportunities and improve their quality of life. To accomplish this, USDA works to foster new cooperative relationships among Government, industry, and communities.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs

This mission area includes marketing and regulatory programs other than those concerned with food safety.

Food Safety

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was established by the Secretary of Agriculture on June 17, 1981, pursuant to authority contained in 5 U.S.C. 301 and Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953 (5 U.S.C. app).

Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

The mission of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services is to reduce hunger and food insecurity, in partnership with cooperating organizations, by providing access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education to children and needy people in a manner that supports American agriculture.

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers farm commodity, disaster, and conservation programs for farmers and ranchers, and makes and guarantees farm emergency, ownership, and operating loans through a network of state and county offices.

Research, Education and Economics

This mission area’s main focus is to create, apply, and transfer knowledge and technology to provide affordable food and fiber, ensure food safety and nutrition, and support rural development and natural resource needs of people by conducting integrated national and international research, information, education, and statistical programs and services that are in the national interest.

Natural Resources an Environment

This mission area is responsible for fostering stewardship of 75 percent of the nation’s total land area.

Graduate School, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Fourteenth Street and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
888.744.4723




Source: United States Government Manual