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About the USDA

President Abraham Lincoln founded the USDA in 1862 with the goal of providing effective leadership to the nation on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues. As a USDA employee, you are now part of a storied, 150-year tradition of excellence in public service.

Since 1862, the dedicated public servants at the USDA literally help hundreds of millions of Americans every day. As Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack said, “We are the People’s Department – the place you can make a difference.”

We’d like you to learn more about the USDA and your specific Agency or Office. On this page, you will find information about the Department, our history and mission, our leaders, our Agencies and Offices. Welcome!


USDA Overview

USDA Agencies

The USDA has 7 Mission Areas. Each Mission Area contains one or more USDA Agency. Below, you will find links to each USDA Agency. Select an Agency from the list and you will be directed to that Agency’s website.

Offices at USDA Headquarters

In addition to the Agencies listed above, the USDA has offices that do not fall under a specific Mission Area.The Offices at the USDA headquarters are listed below in alphabetical order. Select an office from the list and you will be directed to that Office’s website.

Labor Representation

Many USDA positions are covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. View a list of USDA offices and Agencies with Labor Organization representation and Agreements.


New Employees or Detailees working in the National Capital Region

If you have been assigned to the National Capital Region, you will find helpful information below concerning headquarter buildings, public transportation, etc.

The South and Whitten Buildings
This briefing provides information about both headquarters buildings, including services available, room number system, floor plans, etc.

Getting Around
Living and working in the nation’s capital is exciting. Many of our buildings are located in beautiful, historic areas and all are easily accessible by all forms of commuting. Whether you walk, ride Metro, bike or drive to work, here is some information that will help get you there:

Shuttles and other Government vehicles are available for use in performing your official responsibilities. Except for a very few senior USDA officials, Government transportation may not be used to travel to work from home, or from home to work, and that includes Government sponsored shuttle services. The links below will provide information on shuttle systems in the DC area:

Occupant Emergency Plan
All employees need to know what to do in case of a fire or other building emergency. Please read the Headquarters Occupant Emergency Plan.