Department of Agriculture (21 - 30 of 2,039 items) in Custom Date Range
Unauthorized Grazing: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Deterrence Efforts
GAO-16-559: Published: Jul 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2016.
The frequency and extent of unauthorized grazing on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands are largely unknown because according to agency officials, the agencies prefer to handle most incidents informally (e.g., with a telephone call) and do not record them. The agencies' databases contained information on nearly 1,500 incidents of unauthorized grazing where formal action w...
Federal Student Loans: Education Could Improve Direct Loan Program Customer Service and Oversight
GAO-16-523: Published: May 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016.
The Department of Education (Education) and its contracted loan servicers provide a range of information to borrowers about their federal Direct Loans for higher education, such as repayment plans and procedures, but some borrowers GAO interviewed reported difficulties with contacting servicers through their call centers. Borrowers noted similar concerns in Education's 2014 and 2015 customer satis...
Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems
GAO-16-468: Published: May 25, 2016. Publicly Released: May 25, 2016.
The federal government spent about 75 percent of the total amount budgeted for information technology (IT) for fiscal year 2015 on operations and maintenance (O&M) investments. Such spending has increased over the past 7 fiscal years, which has resulted in a $7.3 billion decline from fiscal years 2010 to 2017 in development, modernization, and enhancement activities.Total Federal IT Spending by Ty...
Food Safety: FDA Coordinating with Stakeholders on New Rules but Challenges Remain and Greater Tribal Consultation Needed
GAO-16-425: Published: May 19, 2016. Publicly Released: May 19, 2016.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took numerous steps to ensure meaningful and timely input from nonfederal officials during development of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)-mandated rules on produce, human food, and animal food but did not fully meet its tribal consultation responsibilities. Among other things, FDA—an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HH...
Rural Housing Service: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of the Single Family Mortgage Guarantee Program
GAO-16-193: Published: Mar 31, 2016. Publicly Released: May 2, 2016.
The estimated credit subsidy costs (expected net lifetime costs) of single-family mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) substantially increased in recent years, partly due to high losses from the 2007 through 2011 housing crisis. For example, the fiscal year 2013 and 2014 reestimates (which federal agencies must do annually) indicated higher exp...
Technology Assessment: Municipal freshwater scarcity: Using technology to improve distribution system efficiency and tap nontraditional water sources
GAO-16-474: Published: Apr 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2016.
Water scarcity occurs when the demand for water in a given area approaches or exceeds available water supplies. A water utility facing scarcity may attempt to address it by reducing its demand on existing water supplies, increasing its water supplies, or both. Many mature technologies are available to address both of these areas. For example, a utility could try to improve the efficiency of its di...
Tribal Internet Access: Increased Federal Coordination and Performance Measurement Needed
GAO-16-504T: Published: Apr 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 2016.
In January 2016, GAO found that, although all 21 tribes GAO interviewed have some access to high-speed Internet, barriers to increasing access remain. Tribal officials and Internet providers said that high poverty rates among tribes and the high costs of connecting remote tribal villages to core Internet networks limit high-speed Internet availability and access. About half of the tribes GAO inter...
Tongass National Forest: Forest Service's Actions Related to Its Planned Timber Program Transition
GAO-16-456: Published: Apr 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2016.
The Forest Service has initiated some steps to assess whether its planned transition to young-growth harvest on the Tongass National Forest will support a viable timber industry in southeast Alaska—a goal the Department of Agriculture (USDA) established as part of the transition. For example, the Forest Service reported refining the data it uses to estimate the amount of young-growth timber to b...
Genetically Engineered Crops: USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight and Better Understand Impacts of Unintended Mixing with Other Crops
GAO-16-241: Published: Mar 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), have taken steps to regulate genetically-engineered (GE) crops (i.e., crops whose genetic makeup has been modified), but USDA has not updated its regulations to oversee GE crops derived from alternative technologies in which the GE crop developed contains no plant pest DNA. EPA...
USDA Administrative Services: Streamlining Efforts Ongoing, but Actions Needed to Monitor Progress, Identify Benefits, and Share Lessons Learned
GAO-16-168: Published: Mar 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to streamline and improve administrative services began in mid-2011 and have evolved since then. Initially, USDA launched a department-wide initiative to improve administrative services and selected 27 recommendations for implementation. USDA officials said 25 of the 27 had been implemented, and 2 were in progress, as of October 2015. For example...