Department of Agriculture (31 - 40 of 2,037 items)
Hardrock Mining: BLM and Forest Service Have Taken Some Actions to Expedite the Mine Plan Review Process but Could Do More
GAO-16-165: Published: Jan 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 2016.
From fiscal years 2010 through 2014, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service approved 68 mine plans of operation. The length of time it took the agencies to approve the mine plans ranged from about 1 month to over 11 years, and averaged approximately 2 years. Of the 68 approved mine plans, 13 had not begun operations as of...
Telecommunications: Additional Coordination and Performance Measurement Needed for High-Speed Internet Access Programs on Tribal Lands
GAO-16-222: Published: Jan 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 3, 2016.
Although all 21 tribes GAO interviewed have some access to high-speed Internet, tribes and providers GAO interviewed cited barriers to increasing access. For example, high poverty rates and the high costs of connecting remote tribal villages to core Internet networks—called middle-mile infrastructure—limit high-speed Internet availability and adoption on tribal lands (see fig.). About half of...
Water Infrastructure: EPA and USDA Are Helping Small Water Utilities with Asset Management; Opportunities Exist to Better Track Results
GAO-16-237: Published: Jan 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 2016.
The small water utilities GAO reviewed in 10 selected states are implementing some asset management practices, although state officials said that large water utilities are more likely to implement asset management than small utilities. The asset management practices these small utilities used include identifying key assets, such as pipelines, treatment plants, and other facilities, and assessing t...
Emerging Animal Diseases: Actions Needed to Better Position USDA to Address Future Risks
GAO-16-132: Published: Dec 15, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not take regulatory action during the initial response to the outbreaks of Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) beginning in May 2013, when an outbreak was first detected, because the agency did not believe then that such action was necessary. Instead, USDA initially supported swine industry-led efforts. Without regulatory action, such as requirin...
Federal Student Loans: Key Weaknesses Limit Education's Management of Contractors
GAO-16-196T: Published: Nov 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2015.
The Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid's (FSA) instructions and guidance to loan servicers are sometimes lacking, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient services to borrowers. While FSA has taken some steps to improve program instructions and guidance, six of the seven servicers GAO interviewed reported various issues resulting from absent, unclear and inconsistent guidance...
Wildland Fire Management: Agencies' Efforts to Assess Program Effectiveness and Modernize the Firefighting Aviation Fleet
GAO-16-217T: Published: Nov 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2015.
As GAO found in its September 2015 report, the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Department of the Interior assess the effectiveness of their wildland fire management programs in several ways, including through performance measures, evaluations of particular activities, and reviews of specific wildland fires. Forest Service and Interior officials told GAO their performance measure...
Rural Water Infrastructure: Federal Agencies Provide Funding but Could Increase Coordination to Help Communities [Reissued on November 6, 2015]
GAO-15-450T: Published: Feb 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 2015.
Seven federal agencies provide funding or technical assistance to rural communities in developing drinking water and wastewater systems and complying with federal regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Drinking Water and Clean Water Revolving Funds (SRF) are the largest source of funding and assistance receiving $907 million and $1.45 billion respectively in fiscal year 2014, som...
School Nutrition: USDA Has Efforts Underway to Help Address Ongoing Challenges Implementing Changes in Nutrition Standards
GAO-15-656: Published: Sep 14, 2015. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2015.
Nationwide, participation in the National School Lunch Program declined by 1.4 million children (or 4.5 percent) from school year 2010-2011 through school year 2013-2014, to 30.4 million children. The participation rate of enrolled students also declined, from 62 to 58 percent. Seven of eight states that GAO interviewed reported that challenges with student acceptance of changes made to comply wit...
International Food Assistance: Cargo Preference Increases Food Aid Shipping Costs, and Benefits Are Unclear
GAO-15-666: Published: Aug 26, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2015.
Cargo preference for food aid (CPFA) requirements increased the overall cost of shipping food aid by an average of 23 percent, or $107 million, over what the cost would have been had CPFA requirements not been applied from April 2011 through fiscal year 2014. Moreover, differences in the implementation of CPFA requirements by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Departmen...
Regulatory Guidance Processes: Agencies Could Benefit from Stronger Internal Control Practices
GAO-15-834T: Published: Sep 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2015.
What is regulatory guidance? One of the main purposes of guidance is to explain and help regulated parties comply with agencies' regulations. Even though not legally binding, guidance documents can have a significant effect on regulated entities and the public, both because of agencies' reliance on large volumes of guidance documents and because the guidance can prompt changes in the behavior of r...