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U.S. Department of Agriculture


The USDA has 18 agencies. They are the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Economic Research Service (ERS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Forest Service (FS), FPAC Business Center (FPAC), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS), Rural Development (RD), Rural Housing Service (RHS), and Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Learn more about these agencies, including their missions and some of their online resources.

Images (left to right): APHIS uses dogs at international airports to protect American agriculture as seen in a 2001 photograph; a USDA inspector observes a poultry processing site in an undated photograph; a USDA agent assists farmers with soil conservation in an undated photograph; and a partial image of the 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (Image credits: NAID: 83228843NAID: 148742765NAID: 148741891, and USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map)

Agencies of the USDA

Click on each tab in this box to learn more about each USDA agency. As a visual aid, below is a table that shows the general organization of the USDA and its agencies. It does not include all offices and entities. It highlights the organizational relationship of the agencies under the USDA. Each agency reports to an Under Secretary. The agencies are italicized and highlighted in yellow.

Organizational fllowchart of USDA agencies

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Main website: 

Established: 1939

Mission: "Administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops" and "provides the agriculture industry with valuable services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country."

Additional AMS information and resources:

Resource Information
Contact Us Reach out to a specific AMS program.
Directories and Business Listings Locate listings for local food, laboratory testing and approvals, and livestock and poultry.
Grades and Standards See information on the USDA grade shields, official seals, and labels for products.
News & Announcements Hear about latest notices and press releases.
Reports Read about food safety, meat grading, economic landscape, and more.
Rules & Regulations Review the standards and requirements that AMS administers.
Services Find programs and offices, like Pesticide Data Program and Warehouse Services.
USDA Market News Learn about issues related to market conditions.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Main website:

Established: 1972

Mission: "Protecting the health, welfare, and value of our Nation’s plants, animals, and natural resources."

Strategic Plan: Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2023–2027

Additional APHIS information and resources: 

Resource Information
Animal Welfare License or Registration

Fill out the online application.

National Veterinary Accreditation Program Learn about the accredited program for the health of livestock and animal population.
News and Announcements See that latest APHIS announcements and updates.
Operational Program Units

Explore APHIS' six operational program units:

Permits - APHIS eFile

Apply online for permits, "submit annual reports, and receive regulatory guidance."

Pet Travel Find out information about requirements and certificates to travel with a pet domestically or abroad.
Plant Pests and Diseases Browse data on plant pests and diseases that damage forests and agricultural lands, and disrupt trade.
Traveling With Food or Agricultural Products Understand which foods and agricultural products can be imported into the United States.
Tribal Relations Read about how APHIS works with American Indian tribes to "protect agricultural and natural resources."

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Main website:

Established: 1953

Mission: "Deliver scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges."

Vision: "Global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence."

Additional ARS information and resources:

Resource Information
Datasets Explore databases and data sets.
Find A Location Locate an ARS laboratory or research site.
Find a Publication Browse for an ARS publication by title, author, or abstract.
Find a Research Project Search by keyword for an ARS research project.
National Programs Learn about the programs that "focus on the relevance, impact, and quality of ARS research."
News and Features See latest events and announcements from ARS.
Plans & Reports Read ARS fiscal and research-program reports.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Find out your zone by zip code and additional resources for growing plants.

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Main website:

Established: 1961

Mission: "To anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making."

Strategic Plan: See the Strategic Plan FY2021–2025 and prior ones.

Additional ERS information and resources:

Resource Information
Calendar Attend upcoming events and see the latest data release.
Contact Us Find staff and subject specialists in the directory.
Frequently Asked Questions See a list topics, including on farm households and agricultural imports.
Data Products Delve into ERS data.
Food Environment Atlas Explore statistics on the food environment, like on restaurants, food prices, and more.
Food Access Research Atlas Discover indicators for varied food access to populations.
Newsroom Hear about the latest ERS news.
Publications Search for ERS publications, including research reports and discontinued series.

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

Main website:

Established: 1953

Mission: "FAS is a trade agency that promotes U.S. agricultural exports."

Vision: "A diverse, inclusive, and effective trade agency that positions U.S. agriculture to prosper in the global marketplace."

Strategic Plan: Strategic Plan FY2023–2027

Additional FAS information and resources: 

Resource Information
Contact Us Ask a question or contact one of the offices or programs.
Events Check out public meetings, report releases, trade shows, and more.
Newsroom Hear the latest FAS news and announcements.
Programs Learn about different FAS programs, including the Dairy Import Licensing Program, Emerging Markets Program, and Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program.
Countries and Regions Find out reports and news about a country or region.
Databases and Applications Explore data and APIs on topics ranging from international trade to commodities.
Geospatial Data Discover different geospatial data, including on crop conditions, water levels, tropical cyclone monitor, and more.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

Main website:

Established: 1969

Mission: "To increase food security and reduce 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."

Additional FNS information and resources:

Resource Information
Assistance for Seniors and Adult Care See information on Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and more.
Data & Research Dive into information by topic, initiatives, and programs.
Farmers Market Programs Locate nearby farmers markets using the National Farmers Market Directory.
Food Distribution & Emergency Assistance Understand about FNS' programs to "nourish people in need and support American agriculture."
Meals for Schools and Childcare Explore different programs, including National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Newsroom Hear about the latest FNS news and initiatives.
Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) Block Grants Learn about food assistance to low-income households in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Nutrition Education & Food Safety Discover science-based information regarding food nutrition.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Read about requirements for qualified "low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk."
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Find eligibility information for "low-income families to supplement their grocery budget."

FPAC Business Center (FPAC)

Main website:

Established: 2018

Mission: "Provides mission support across 15 business lines, such as budgeting, civil rights, and human resources, for FSA, NRCS, and RMA."

Additional FPAC information and resources: 

Resource Information
Doing Business With Us Learn about how FPAC "enters into contracts, grants and agreements with Federal, State, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations to further the FPAC mission."
Geospatial Enterprise Operations (GEO) Explore USDA's "geospatial policy, governance, and enterprise strategic design in concert with FPAC strategy."
Media & Reports Hear about the latest agency news and reports.
Working for FSA, NRCS, RMA - FPAC Search for job opportunities.
Forest Service (FS)

Main website:

Established: 1905

Mission: "To to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."

Motto: "Caring for the land and Serving People.

Additional FS information and resources:

Resource Information
Contact Us Ask a question or provide a comment or idea with a FS expert.
Forests and Grasslands Visit a FS forest or grassland.
Learn Find educational resources for kids, parents, natural resource professionals, and educators.
Managing the Land Understand the ways FS manages the land, from invasive species to fire management.
National Programs and Offices Locate a specific FS office or program.
News Releases Hear about the latest FS news.
Publications Browse FS publications, including technical reports and fact sheets.
Regulations & Policies Learn about laws, regulations, directives, and more.
Science & Technology Discover topics from climate change to fire science.
Working with Us Apply for a job or volunteer opportunity with the FS.

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Main website:

Established: 1933 (originally Agricultural Adjustment Administration) and later its current state since 1996 (after a series of USDA reorganizations)

Mission: "Equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans."

Values: Strong ethics, customer service, team work, inclusive decision-making, and fiscal responsibility.

Additional FSA information and resources: 

Resource Information
Emergency Designations Find out about places with emergency designations to due a disaster.
Fact Sheets Read about agricultural topics, from bees to underserved farmers. (FSA Farm+) Access farm records and maps online about your land.
Loan Assistance Tool Learn about FSA loans and how to apply for them.
News Releases Hear about the latest FSA news and announcements.
Online Data Resources Delve into open Government data, including visualizations and reports.
State Offices Locate a state office and its contact information.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Main website:  

Established: 1862 (a predecessor, Division of Chemistry) and later became FSIS in 1981 (after a series of USDA reorganizations)

Mission: "To protect public health by preventing illness from meat, poultry, and egg products."

Strategic Plan: 2023-2026 Strategic Plan (see previous strategic plans)

Additional FSIS information and resources: 

Resource Information
Food Defense and Emergency Response Browse information on how to prepare for emergencies, including how to handle food products.
Foodborne Illness and Disease Learn about risks of and ways to prevent having for a foodborne illness.
Inspection See information about FSIS inspections.
Policy Read rules and regulations considering food safety.
Recalls & Public Health Alerts Hear about the latest FSIS announcements on food products.
Safe Food Handling and Preparation Understand ways to handle safely food (cook, clean, chill, and separate).
Science & Data Explore FSIS data sets and resources.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Main website:

Established: 1863 (predecessor as the Division of Statistics) and later in 1961 (known as the Statistical Reporting Service)

Mission: "Provides timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture."

Values: Trust, Credibility, Objectivity, Relevance, Commitment

Additional NASS information and resources: 

Resource Information
Contact Us Ask a question or provide a comment to a specialist.
Census of Agriculture Learn about the census of a "complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them."
Data and Statistics Explore geospatial data, special tabulations, statistics, and more.
Newsroom See the latest NASS news, notices, briefings, and videos.
Publications Read NASS reports on various topics, from rice stocks to cattle on feed.
Surveys Check out different programs and surveys on various agricultural issues.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Main Website: 

Established: 2008 (Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008)

Mission: "Invest in and advance agricultural research, education and extension to solve societal challenges."

Vision: "Catalyze transformative discoveries, education and engagement to address agricultural challenges."

Additional NIFA information and resources:

Resources Information
Announcements See the latest NIFA news.
Data Dive into "data and metrics on how the agency disseminates funding."
Grants Learn about and apply for competitive grants.
Maps Explore historic and contemporary maps.
Press Releases Read NIFA press releases.
Topics See a range of scientific topics, including on ecology, farms and ranches, health and science, and the future of farming.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Main Website:

Established: 1935 as Soil Conservation Service (Public Law 7446) and renamed NRCS in 1994.

Mission: "We deliver conservation solutions so agricultural producers can protect natural resources and feed a growing world."

Vision: "A world of clean and abundant water, healthy soils, resilient landscapes, and thriving agricultural communities through voluntary conservation."

Additional NRCS information and resources:

Resources Information
Contact Us Find a state office or service center.
Data and Reports Read reports on different topics, from wildlife habitat to watersheds.
Financial Assistance Programs Learn about and apply for programs that assist landowners and agricultural producers to sustainably manage natural resources.
News See the latest news, programs and initiatives from NRCS.
Programs & Initiatives Browse NRCS programs that deal with easements, watersheds, and more.
Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS)

Main Website:

Established: 1994 (Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reauthorization Act of 1994).

About: RBCS works with partners to provide financial assistance, business development, and technical assistance to rural businesses. RBCS helps to provide capital, equipment, space, and job training that help rural businesses.

Additional RBCS information and resources:

Resources Information
Contacts Find an office, branch, or division.

Read more about these RBCS programs:

Rural Development (RD)

Main Website:

Established: 1935 (as the Rural Electrification Administration) and later in 1994 as its current form (Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reauthorization Act of 1994)

Priorities: addressing climate change and environmental justice; advancing racial justice, place-based equity, and opportunity; and creating more and better market opportunities 

Additional RD information and resources:

Resources Information
Contact Us Reach out to a national, state, or area office.
Eligibility See if eligible for a USDA program assistance.
Newsroom Hear about the latest RD news, including on tribal outreach and stakeholder announcements.
Programs & Services Learn about over 50 financial assistance programs and services.
Publications Read brochures, fact sheets, reports, and resource guides by RD.
State Offices Locate a RD state office.
Rural Housing Service (RHS)

Main Website:

Established: 1994 (Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reauthorization Act of 1994).

About: RHS offers financing to build or improve housing and essential community facilities in rural areas for single and multi-family housing, childcare centers, fire and police stations, hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, schools, and much more.

Additional RHS information and resources:

Resources Information
Contacts Locate a RHS office or program.

Find information about these RHS programs:

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Main Website:

Established: 1996

Mission: "Serving America’s agricultural producers through effective, market-based risk management tools to strengthen the economic stability of agricultural producers and rural communities."

Vision: "Securing the future of agriculture by providing world class risk management tools to rural America."

Additional RMA information and resources:

Resources Information
Frequently Asked Questions See popular questions by year or topic, from specific farm bills to wildfires.
Farm Bill Read highlights of programs and assistance opportunities that the bill provides.
Organic Crops Check out information on crop insurance coverage for organic farming.
Outreach and Education Learn about programs and activities for producers and grower groups.
Publications Browse RMA publications on topics from actuarial methodology to risk management.

Find information to manage your risk:

Rural Utilities Service (RUS)

Main Website:

Established: 1994 (Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reauthorization Act of 1994).

About: RUS provides financing to build or improve water and waste treatment, electric power, and telecommunications infrastructure in rural communities. These services help expand economic opportunities and improve quality of life for rural residents.

Additional RUS information and resources:

Resources Information
Contacts Find an office, program, or staff person.

Learn more about these RUS programs:

Quick Facts about the USDA Agencies

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Did you know that AMS has the Certificate Management System that has a database of Plant Variety Protection Certificates, which includes the name of the plant and images?

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

APHIS issues biotechnology permits, which reviews how the genetic engineering of an organism may post a plant-pest risk.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

ARS has "660 research projects within 15 National Programs," including work on alfalfa, catfish, narcotic plants, and watersheds.

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America shows demographic and socioeconomic data by county, regions, and states.

Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)

FAS has information on the export of commodities, from biofuels to wine, beer, and spirits.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

Did you know that FNS has Summer Nutrition Programs for children experiencing food insecurity?

FPAC Business Center (FPAC)

For the fiscal year 2023, "73.74 percent of FPAC’s contracting was with small businesses, totaling more than $534 million. Of this amount, $341 million – or 47 percent – was with small and disadvantaged businesses."

Forest Service (FS)

The FS sponsors Passport in Time (PIT), a nationwide "volunteer cultural heritage resources program," that partners with the "Bureau of Land Management (BLM), some State Parks and work with Historicorps" on archaeological and historical projects.

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

FSA has the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access (Increasing Land Access) Program that assists underserved producers with "resources, tools, programs, and technical support they need to succeed."

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Review FSIS statistics and scientific research on foodborne illness data.

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Check out agricultural statistics by state, including quick stats in a searchable database.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

NIFA oversees several programs and provides funding opportunities related to natural resources (forests, grasslands, and rangelands).

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Conservation By State highlights each state's programs and initiatives on the sustainability of natural resources.

Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS)

For more information on cooperatives, check out these publications.

Rural Development (RD)

Learn more about the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program for eligible rural areas.

Rural Housing Service (RHS)

RHS has appraisal and architectural services.

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Lookup a specific commodity by state to see fact sheets about a crop and related information regarding the insurance of it.

Rural Utilities Service (RUS)

The Rural Utilities Service Water and Environmental Programs help "rural communities obtain the technical assistance and financing necessary to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems."