Overview of USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service

Rincker Law Food & Ag Law Leave a Comment

I’m currently conducting a blog series where each week I give an overview of the responsibilities of a government agency regulating our food and agriculture system.  I think it’s a helpful reminder for everyone on just how complex our regulatory system is.  It’s a game of Who’s Who in U.S. food and agriculture.

The Foreign Agriculture Service (“FAS”) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) subagency that works to improve market access for U.S. food around the world.  It reports to the Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (“FFAS”) at the USDA.

In terms organizational structure, FSA is divided into the following offices:

  • Office of the Administrator (“OA”)
  • Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs (“OASA”)
  • Office of Country and Regional Affairs (“OCRA”)
  • Office of Global Analysis (“OGA”)
  • Office of Trade Programs (“OTP”)
  • Office of Capacity Building and Development (“OCBD”)
  • Office of Foreign Service Operations (“OFSO”)

As an overview, FAS has 98 offices around the globe to advance food exports over 162 countries of the following agricultural commodities:  biofuels, coffee, cotton, dairy, fruit, grains, oilseeds, planting seeds, potatoes, raisins, meat, livestock, poultry, eggs, organic food, sugar, tree nuts, and wine. FAS also administers two food assistance programs to help people in need of food security around the world:  (1)  Food for Progress and (2) McGovern-Dole.  FAS also has non-emergency food aid programs available to help encourage long-term economic develop to help lesser developed countries to eventually become a commercial buyer of U.S. food products.

Food security (both in the US and abroad) is a big passion of mine and I believe that the US food and agricultural system plays an integral part in our global food system.  At Pace Law School, I obtained a Certificate of International Law and am aware of international trade law affects food and agriculture.  Over the last few years, I have come to realize just how connected we all are around the globe and how important it is to have a system that encourages international food trade.

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