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About the U.S. Department of Agriculture

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 plan serves 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.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom VilsackSecretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack serves as the Nation's 30th Secretary of the Agriculture. As USDA's leader, Vilsack is working hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and secure a stronger future for the American middle class.


Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta HardenDeputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden
Working alongside Secretary Tom Vilsack, Krysta Harden oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA's many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process.

How We Work

Our weekly reviews highlight the importance of our mission and the work we do which touches the lives of Americans, every day. 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.

Our History

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.