The Office of the Judicial Officer was established pursuant to the Act of April 4, 1940 (7 U.S.C. §§ 450c-450g). The Judicial Officer is delegated authority by the Secretary of Agriculture to act as final deciding officer in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) adjudicatory proceedings subject to 5 U.S.C. §§ 556 and 557 and other proceedings listed in 7 C.F.R. § 2.35. The Judicial Officer's decisions are not reviewable within USDA, but any litigant in a proceeding, other than USDA, may seek judicial review of the Judicial Officer's decision. The Judicial Officer's decisions and rulings are published in Agriculture Decisions and are available on West Publishing Company's computer-assisted legal research service, WESTLAW, under the database USDA.
The mission of the Office of the Judicial Officer is to review carefully the record in each proceeding and to issue expeditiously a fair, clear, well-reasoned final USDA decision, which is consistent with law and USDA policy.
The Office of the Judicial Officer is comprised of three persons: the Judicial Officer, an attorney, and a Legal Technician.