Definition of US Department of Agriculture

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

US Department of Agriculture: A department of the executive branch of the US government founded in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln -- he called it the "people's Department" -- that is devoted to agriculture in its broadest sense.

The mission of the US Department of Agriculture (as stated on its Internet site) includes the following roles relevant to health:

  • USDA leads the Federal anti-hunger effort with the Food Stamp, School Lunch, School Breakfast, and the WIC Programs.
  • USDA is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.
  • USDA is a research leader in everything from human nutrition to new crop technologies that allow us to grow more food and fiber using less water and pesticides.

The US Department of Agriculture is abbreviated and commonly referred to as the USDA.


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