What We Do
We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.
We have a vision to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation’s natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.
Our strategic goals serve as a roadmap for the Department to help ensure we achieve our mission and implement our vision.
Who We Are
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad.
How We Work
The core values described in our strategic plan provide our workforce with direction and goals along with milestones that we use to measure our progress, and help to guide decisions about our budget, programs and services.
On May 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to establish the United States Department of Agriculture and two and a half years later in his final message to Congress, Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.” Through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and other issues, USDA has impacted the lives of generations of Americans.
- USDA 150 Years
- Former Secretaries
- President Lincoln’s Agricultural Legacy
- History of American Agriculture 1776-1999 (PDF, 3.0 MB)
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the largest and most successful workplace charitable giving drive in the world. CFC is the only authorized charitable organization solicitation of Federal employees in their workplaces. CFC is structured to support and to promote philanthropy through a voluntary program that is cost-efficient and effective in providing all Federal employees the opportunity to impact the CFC charitable interest of their choosing.
The USDA Energy Web includes an interactive map, graphing analysis tools, and the USDA Energy Matrix. These instruments allow you to view past USDA investments, navigate in a friendly environment USDA energy programs and compare and analyze biofuels and bioenergy data from the USDA.
Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Website available soon)
USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships reaches out and connects government with non-profit organizations – both secular and faith-based – to help people in need. Most people know USDA leads the way in agriculture, natural resources, and food. Many don’t know we’re also about strengthening communities, nourishing kids, and impacting lives.
Part of the United We Serve campaign, Feds Feed Families was designed to help food banks and pantries stay stocked during summer months when they traditionally see a decrease in donations and an increase in need. In Washington, D.C., the Capital Area Food Bank receives collections and distributes them through its network of more than 500 partner organizations.
USDA is here to help our Nation’s veterans as you transition from the military to civilian life. As a military veteran, your leadership training, skills, and perspective can help America meet the challenges of producing food and rebuilding rural and urban communities. We want you to be a part of the next generation feeding the Nation and the world, and USDA can connect you to the resources and help you need to get there.
From the classroom to the farm to the boardroom, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future. As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of women are educated, encouraged and empowered to take on the challenges of meeting the world’s growing food, fuel and fiber needs.
USDA provides students, parents, and teachers with youth-geared information and resources related to agriculture.
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.
ARS is USDA’s principal in-house research agency. ARS leads America towards a better future through agricultural research and information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FS sustains the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
NAL ensures and enhances access to agricultural information for a better quality of life.
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.
NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA’s investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture.
NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment.
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.
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.