Responsibilities of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The core responsibilities of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) include providing effective leadership on food, agriculture, and natural resources and developing and promoting policies on agricultural trade and production among others.

USDA is one of the 15 federal executive departments that assist the government of the U.S. to implement agricultural and nutritional policies that directly affect the US citizens.

This article explores the mandates and purpose of the US Department of Agriculture in helping the US government to achieve its goals.

Quick facts about USDA:

  • Year of formation: May 15, 1862
  • Established by: Abraham Lincoln
  • Cabinet status: February 15, 1889
  • Former Name: Agricultural Division
  • Head office: 1400 Independence Ave., SW
    Washington, DC 20250

What are the functions of the US Department of Agriculture?

The USDA has more than 20 responsibilities it plays in the United States which it does through its agencies and sub-agencies, but are the top 11 mandates of USDA

1) It organises job training for inhabitants of rural areas to help them boost their entrepreneurial skills in agricultural production. It does this through the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS).

2) It gives effective direction on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues

3) It helps in developing and promoting agricultural trade and production

4) It provides credit and financial assistance to farmers and residents in rural areas.

5) It conducts research and promotion in technological advances in agriculture

6) The USDA is saddled with the responsibility of keeping the natural resources of the United States, including soil, water, and forests

7) It provides food assistance to low-income individuals and families through the department’s largest food assistance called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

8) The US Department of Agriculture does not only provide food, it also ensures that the food supply chain is protected and safe for US Citizens.

9) It provides veterinary services to protect the health and welfare of animals on US soil.

10) Promoting international development through agriculture and food assistance programs

11) Providing leadership in the development of a renewable energy economy


USDA’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans and people around the world by supporting the production of safe, abundant, and affordable food, fiber, and renewable energy.

USDA has at least 22 agencies that help in implementing agriculture policies.

Above all, the core mandate of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management in order to enhance the quality of life of the American people by supporting the production of abundant, healthy, and affordable food and promoting the development of a strong and sustainable agriculture sector.


US Department. “USDA”.

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