This USDA Guidance Portal implements Executive Order (EO) 13891 of October 9, 2019, “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” and the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) implementing memorandum M-20-02 (PDF, 5.8 MB) of October 31, 2019. USDA’s implementing regulations were published June 3, 2020.
A central principle of EO 13891 is that guidance documents should only clarify existing obligations; they should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public. Guidance documents lack the force and effect of law, unless expressly authorized by statute or incorporated into a contract; and the agency may not cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted on the website existing under the EO, except to establish historical facts. The EO and the implementing memorandum establish a process under which OMB will have the opportunity to review any agency guidance document prior to its issuance. The EO and implementing memo also require agencies to maintain a website for guidance documents through which the public can access all agency guidance documents.
Guidance documents come in a variety of formats, including interpretive memoranda, policy statements, manuals, bulletins, advisories, and more. Any document that satisfies the definition of "guidance" under Section 2(b) of the EO would qualify, regardless of name or format. This guidance portal provides access to the qualifying guidance documents of all USDA’s agencies.
List of USDA Agency Guidance Portals: