U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Status of the Food and Agriculture Councils Needs to Be Elevated

RCED-90-29: Published: Nov 20, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 1989.

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GAO described the Food and Agriculture Councils (FAC) and reviewed ways to revitalize FAC as a strategic management tool for the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

GAO found that: (1) USDA established FAC in 1982 to facilitate the flow of USDA-wide initiatives to the state and local levels and to provide feedback on issues affecting farm communities; (2) because USDA transferred FAC out of the Office of the Secretary, the FAC Director had little or no power to foster interagency coordination; (3) reduced interest in FAC activities affected FAC abilities to provide feedback to the Secretary; (4) although some FAC-proposed projects had potential nationwide applications, headquarters was slow to follow up on the proposals; and (5) without a strong national director at headquarters, there was little incentive for state and local FAC to focus on FAC missions and objectives.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FAC mission statement and endorsement from the Secretary have been issued by USDA.

    Recommendation: To ensure that FAC fulfill their responsibilities to facilitate the flow of USDA-wide initiatives to the state and local levels and provide a source of feedback from the field on pressing issues affecting farm communities nationwide, the Secretary of Agriculture should institutionalize the headquarters liaison for FAC in the Office of the Secretary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture


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