Results Act:

Observations on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

RCED-99-187: Published: Jun 7, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Lawrence J. Dyckman
(202) 512-9692


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 2000, focusing on the extent to which the plan: (1) provides a clear picture of intended performance across the Department; (2) discusses the strategies and resources USDA will use to achieve its goals; and (3) provides confidence that the performance information will be credible.

GAO noted that: (1) USDA's performance plan for FY 2000 should be a somewhat useful tool for decisionmakers; (2) overall, the plan provides a general picture of intended performance across the Department, a general discussion of the strategies and resources the Department will use to achieve performance goals, and limited confidence that its performance information will be credible; (3) USDA's FY 2000 performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan in that it indicates some progress in addressing the weaknesses that GAO identified in its assessment of the FY 1999 plan; (4) among the improvements in the FY 2000 plan are: (a) better efforts to identify programs that contribute to similar results; (b) more consistent use of goals and measures that address program results and performance; and (c) improved linkages between program activities and performance goals; (5) USDA's plan still needs improvement in a number of areas, particularly in: (a) identifying strategies to mitigate external factors; (b) describing efforts to verify and validate performance data; and (c) discussing data limitations; (6) for example, the Rural Utilities Service's performance plan lists several performance goals and indicators for the Service's electric program; (7) however, the plan's discussion concerning the verification and validation of data relating to these goals and indicators is limited primarily to stating that: (a) the data are available in records from the Service's automated systems, from the Service's borrower-reported statistics, and from USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS); and (b) the Service has had long experience with its internal data and is highly confident of its accuracy as well as the reliability of ERS' data; (8) the plan does not discuss the basis for its confidence in the data's accuracy and reliability nor how data limitations could adversely affect its ability to assess performance; and (9) furthermore, the plan makes no mention of actions that the Rural Utilities Service will take to compensate for any unavailable or low-quality data.

Mar 2, 2021

Feb 3, 2021

Jan 29, 2021

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

Dec 16, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here