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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Why don't the post-2006 editions of Agriculture Decisions have hyperlinks from the List of Decisions Reported directly to the text of the case?

A. We are using the advanced features in Adobe AcrobatTM "Fast Web" to post the four parts of Agriculture Decisions. To search for your case: go to the List of Decisions Reported in the beginning of the volume find the page number; put that page number in the search box and click the "find" button.


Q. Why didn't the search engine find my cases in PDF format?

A. The FirstGov search engine looks at both HTML and PDF files that are stored in the OALJDecisions Database. In order to reduce the sheer volume of files that satisfy the search criteria, the search engine always chooses an HTML file instead of a PDF file if both contain the same text. Since an HTML file is smaller than the same text file in PDF format, the speed of the search and your download of the file is enhanced. If you have found the page number of the file (case) you are looking for, then go back to the Chooser box and choose PDF as a format choice. Use the hyperlinked page numbers to view your selected case in the same form as it exists in the official printed copy.


Q. Why do the pre-2000 cases exist only in PDF?

A. The pre-2000 cases were scanned and converted to a text searchable PDF format with optical character reader software. We chose the PDF format over HTML format because it "looks like" the original text.

Q. My search received results from many sources other than from the USDA Office of Administrative Law Judges. Why?

A. Go to the "Advanced Search" window and be sure that the website address is set to


Q. Why aren't the page numbers listed in the file called "Index" or the file called "List of Decisions Reported (Alphabetical Listing)" hyperlinked?

A. We have invested the labor to hyperlink the pages numbers found in the "List of Decisions Reported." We have not hyperlinked the List of Decisions Reported Alphabetically and the (Subject matter) Index. The search process to view the text of a case which was found in the non-hyperlinked files is nearly the same process as used in a hard bound book, i.e. using the page number found in the Index or Alphabetical Listing, return to the List of Decisions Reported and use the hyperlink found there.


Q. Why is there no Part 4 for Volume 59?

A. The second half of Volume 60 was the first edition which had a Part Four.


Q. Why can't I start with page one of a pre-2006 volume and scroll through the cases until I reach the last case in the volume?

A. The individual cases in a volume have been individually extracted and hyperlinked to enhance research techniques. Once you have completed your viewing of a particular case, choose the "Back" arrow to return to the hyperlinked "List of Decisions Reported" and choose the next case you wish to view.


Q. How do I parallel cite a case found on this website?

A. A case found on page 41 of Volume 60 January-June 2001 edition would be cited with the same rules as set out in the preface of each volume .i.e In re: George Russell, 60 Agric. Dec. 41.


Q. How can I quickly narrow my search to a particular type of case and thereafter further define my search terms?

A. Notice that each case docket number has a strict naming convention. i.g. AMA or AWA or HPA or I.&G., etc. Using that naming convention and using the "Advanced Search" window:

  1. Put the type of case in the Key Word Box.
  2. Put your secondary inquiry term in one of the other windows. Usually the "text" window is most useful.

For example, put "AMA" in the Key Word window and put "milk" in the Must Include window to find cases dealing with Milk Marketing Orders.


Q. Why can’t I find all the “Current ALJ Decisions” online?

A. We began publishing Current ALJ Decisions in 2003. For years other than the current calendar year, please check the annual archives for each type of ALJ decision.


Q. Why can't I find any pre-2000 cases in my results from the use of the search engine?

A. Due to the inclusion of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and pre-area code phone numbers in the documents, we had no reliable way of assuring ourselves that PII did not slip through during the scanning process. The documents must be hand-processed to ensure the security of this information prior to posting the cases.


Q. When searching for a case by name or docket number in the pre-2000 cases, what is the fastest way to view the case online?

A. Presently, these volumes can only be searched one volume at a time. Assuming that you have found the List of Decisions page (that's where the case name, docket number, and page number appear): 1) Open the initial case in the volume; 2) Click on the Adobe Acrobat Search Box (the icon is a pair of binoculars) and type in the exact case name (to narrow the results, make it case sensitive). Then you should find quickly to the beginning of the case.


Q. Why are there incomplete listings for Consent Decisions priot to 2004?

A. We did not routinely scan the Consent Decisions prior to 2004. We strive to scan and add Consent Decisions prior to 2004 as they are recovered from long term storage due to a FOIA request.


For additional information, please contact Editor.