Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about USDA’s Advisory Committee Meetings
- How do I find out about upcoming advisory committee meetings? When are meetings announced to the public?
USDA is required to publish meeting announcements of federal advisory committee meetings at least 15 calendar days before the meeting date in the Federal Register (41 CFR sec 102-3.150). USDA also provides meeting announcements on schedule meetings, which can be found at: The Office of the Federal Register under the Department of Agriculture.
- How do I register for a meeting?
Registering for a meeting is not required unless you plan to speak during the Open Public portion of a meeting. For further information regarding Open Public registration, refer to the specific advisory committee meeting announcement in the Federal Register.
- How do I find out if a meeting is cancelled or postponed?
A notice in the Federal Register regarding last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always refer to the notice for guidance, check the committee’s direct website, or call the appropriate Designated Federal Officer listed in the Contact Information section of the Meeting announcement to learn about possible modifications before coming to a meeting.
- Who do I contact if I would like to present at the Open Public portion of a meeting?
If you would like to present during the open public portion of a meeting, contact the Designated Federal Officer specified in the advisory committee meeting announcement in the Federal Register.
- I am a person with a disability, if I need assistance who should I contact?
USDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committees’ meetings and will make every effort to the extent practicable to accommodate persons with disabilities. If you require accommodations due to a disability, contact the person specified in a meeting announcement at least seven days in advance of a meeting.
- Are meetings available by Webcast?
Some meetings are available by webcast. A link to the webcast will be provided in a meeting announcement or may be found with the background materials that are posted by the committee’s Designated Federal Officer for the meeting.
- When are background materials for a meeting posted to the website?
USDA intends to make background materials available to the public no later than 2 business days before a meeting. Information on each committee is provided on the committee’s website and/or the FACA Database after the meeting. If the materials are not there, please contact the Designated Federal Officer of the committee.
- Can I take pictures or record an advisory committee meeting?
USDA advisory committee meetings are public events unless for meetings closed under (5 U.S.C. 552(b)). Therefore, anyone can take photographs or record a meeting, as long as these activities do not disrupt or interfere with the conduct of the meeting. Persons attending USDA’s advisory committee meetings are advised that the agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets, lights, or recording devices. As a courtesy, notify the Designed Federal Officer assigned to the committee that you plan to record the meeting and take candid photos.
- What are the expectations for public conduct and security at an advisory committee meeting?
USDA would like to ensure that our advisory committee meetings proceed in an orderly manner, be conducted in a safe and secure environment for our members and public guests, that the right of free speech is protected, and that the ability of USDA advisory committees to accomplish their goals and objectives without any disruptions. The Designed Federal Officer of an advisory committee has the right to adjourn a meeting when deemed necessary and in the best interest of the public.