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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Regarding Advisory Committee Memberships

What is an USDA Advisory Committee?

Advisory committees provide USDA with independent advice from outside experts or interest area groups on issues related to agricultural programs including animals, biotechnology, conservation, statistical data, farming, ranching, food and nutrition, forestry and wildfires, health and safety, organic, plants, recreation, research and science, rural development and trade. USDA has over 140 federal advisory committees. In general, advisory committees include a chair, several members that may include subject matter expertise (Special Government Employees (SGEs)), consumer and industry representatives. In addition, members appointment as SGE members are subject to public and financial disclosures. Although committees provide advice and/or work products to an agency for the Secretary, the final decisions are made by USDA at the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture or authorizing official/designee.

How do I find out about committees upcoming solicitations for nominations/memberships?

Individuals can refer to an agency/committee’s website and/or the call for nominations in the Federal Register (FACA only) and the instructions provided in the notice announcement. A Designated Federal Officer/Program Official (non-FACA) is assigned to each USDA Advisory Committee and may be contacted for more information.

How to Submit Nominations & Applications for Membership?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations for members to serve on its advisory committees. Over 4,000 opportunities to serve on advisory committees are routinely available as the term of each member expires. We are interested in a wide range of professionals including scientists, representatives of interest groups, educators, and business leaders. Any interested person may nominate one or more qualified persons for one or more of the advisory committees or boards. Individuals and organizations who wish to nominate experts for any USDA advisory committee should submit a letter to the Secretary listing these individuals' names and business address, phone, and e-mail contact information. Self-nominations are also accepted.

All recommendation letters and nominations should be mailed in a single, complete package for each committee of interest to the attention of: Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC, 20250. If a nomination is in response to a Federal Register notice call/solicit for nominations, follow the instructions provided in the announcement.

Candidates Applying for Membership

As part of the USDA’s ongoing efforts to recruit qualified experts with minimal conflicts of interest who are interested in serving on USDA’s advisory committees. USDA is requesting nominations for members to serve on its advisory committees. To ensure that nominees are taken into account for the needs of underserved and diverse communities served by the USDA, membership will include, to the extent practicable, individuals representing minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. USDA prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities based on race, sex, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Additionally, discrimination based on political beliefs and marital status or family status is also prohibited by statutes enforced by USDA (not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Technology and Accessible Resources Give Employment Today Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

USDA has special interest in assuring that the views of all groups, and individuals with and without disabilities are adequately represented on our advisory committees. Therefore, we encourage and welcome nominations of qualified candidate from various interest groups.

Advisory Committee Federal Register Solicitations Calendar

Federal Advisory Committee solicitation notices may be found on a committee’s website or at:

The Office of the Federal Register