Skip to Main Content
FDLP Resource Guides
Beginning summer 2023, we are updating our guides. You may notice changes to the look and feel of our existing guides. If you have any questions or experience any issues, please contact askGPO.

U.S. Department of Agriculture


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is under the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. It is one of fifteen executive departments. This guide provides an overview about the USDA, including its bureaus, highlighted publications, and featured online information. 

"Orange daylily (Hemerocallis) and white beardtongue (Penstemon) are favored by many gardeners. Although the daylily provides a small reward to pollinators, Penstemon offers a much larger reward of nectar and pollen"

Photograph of orange daylily (Hemerocallis) and white beardtongue (Penstemon) (Source: USDA Agricultural Research Service Featured Photo Archives/Peggy Greb)

Quick Facts about the USDA

Screenshot of USDA logo

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."

Established: May 15, 1862 (Organic Act of 1862) and later with Cabinet status on February 9, 1889 (ch. 122, §§1, 4, 25 Stat. 659)

Secretary: Thomas J. Vilsack

Strategic Plan: FY2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Operation: Nearly 100,000 employees at 4,500 locations

USDA Resources and Information

Resource Information
Main Website Visit the official website of the USDA.
askUSDA Ask a question or contact USDA for information.
USDA Organization Chart View the chart of USDA.
Agency News Releases Hear about the latest news from the USDA agencies.
Press Releases Read about USDA events and news.
Blog Discover featured blogs that discuss a range of USDA-related subjects, from nutrition security to forestry.
Census of Agriculture Review data on "U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them."
Disaster Resource Center See "how to prepare, recover and build long-term resilience during disasters and emergencies." Learn about USDA tools and data. Available also in Español.
Grants and Loans Apply for USDA programs, including Organic Cost Share Program and Farmers Market Promotion Program. Explore healthy choices from the five food groups.
National Agricultural Library Check out the library's electronic and printed collections on agriculture and related sciences.
USDA CARES Partner Portal Find information for underserved farmers, ranchers, and landowners.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Use the interactive map to find out your location's plant hardiness zone.