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What is the U.S. Department of Agriculture?

 

The Department of Agriculture is concerned with forestry, food and farming. This executive branch department oversees 17 major agencies, including the Forest Service, which manages national forests and grasslands; the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which helps farmers, ranchers and other landowners conserve and restore their lands; and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which promotes crop and livestock pest and disease control. The inspection service includes Wildlife Services, a controversial predator and wild animal control agency. The USDA also provides programs for food safety, rural development and agricultural research. It certifies farms as organic, administers a federal crop insurance program and runs nutrition assistance programs. In 2016, its budget was about $150 billion, and it employed almost 100,000 people.