USDA

DEFINITION of 'USDA'

A department of the United States government that manages various programs related to food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and nutrition. The United States Department of Agriculture tries to expand economic opportunity in rural areas, make sure Americans are properly fed and conserve natural resources. President Lincoln founded the USDA in 1862, at a time when about 50% of Americans lived on farms.

BREAKING DOWN 'USDA'

The head of the USDA is the Secretary of Agriculture. Second in charge is the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, who oversees the department’s daily operations and budget. Seven undersecretaries oversee the divisions for rural development, food safety and other areas.

The USDA’s programs help provide the following services, among others: broadband access in rural areas; disaster assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural residents; soil, water and other natural resource conservation to landowners; wildfire prevention; and agricultural research and statistics. The USDA is also responsible for school meal nutrition; nutrition education; organic food standards; food assistance for women, infants and children (WIC); and the food stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

The USDA also provides financial assistance for purchasing and refinancing rural homes. It provides direct loans to very-low-income borrowers who want to purchase a rural home, guaranteed loans to moderate-income homebuyers, and loans and grants for rural home improvements and repairs. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. USDA Non-Streamlined Refinancing

    A mortgage-refinancing option offered by the United States Department ...
  2. USDA Streamlined Refinancing

    A mortgage-refinancing option offered by the United States Department ...
  3. USDA Rural Refinance Pilot Program

    A mortgage-refinancing option offered in some states and territories ...
  4. Food And Agriculture Organization ...

    A United Nations agency that works on international efforts to ...
  5. Federal Home Loan Bank System - ...

    An organization created by the Federal Home Loan Bank Act of ...
  6. Freddie Mac - Federal Home Loan ...

    A stockholder-owned, government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) chartered ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    Debunking Biofuels: Do They Really Raise Food Prices?

    Learn about the two sides of the argument on the effect biofuels have on food prices and about other factors that affect food prices.
  2. Savings

    Why Organic Food Is So Expensive

    Discover how organic farmers face many obstacles. Learn why your organics cost so much more than conventional foods and if there is any hope for falling prices.
  3. Credit & Loans

    Home Loans For Disaster Recovery

    There are numerous government programs available for people who need financial help recovering from a household disaster.
  4. Retirement

    Understanding FHA Home Loans

    Don't be overwhelmed when filling out these forms. Find out what you need to do here.
  5. Investing Basics

    A Primer For Investing In Agriculture

    In this article, we'll look at the agriculture sector and the different ways investors can approach it.
  6. Investing News

    This Is Why Every Chipotle Is Closed for One Day

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) has had a rough year when it comes to food safety. Management is hoping that closing all locations for a company-wide meeting Monday will help resolve the issues ...
  7. Stock Analysis

    Has Chipotle Hit Bottom? (CMG)

    Chipotle has suffered from a public relations nightmare. Can its stock recover?
  8. Chart Advisor

    These 3 Charts Suggest Bears Control The Commodity Markets

    Many investors are wondering if they should be betting on a trend reversal in commodities. These charts suggest that a reversal might be further out than many hope.
  9. Chart Advisor

    Watch Out for Agricultural Stocks

    All eyes are on metals and energy. Based on the charts in this article, now could be the time to watch out for agriculture stocks.
  10. Chart Advisor

    Bulls Shouldn't Count On A Reversal In Commodities

    2015 was a tough year on commodity investors and while a short-term bounce higher could be in the cards, it probably isn't quite time to bet on a reversal.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the point of agricultural subsidies?

    Every five years, new legislation is introduced and passed through the U.S. Congress to subsidize farmers and agricultural ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What country produces the most coffee?

    According to the 2014-2015 forecast provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service, Brazil ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What countries are driving most of the growth of the food and beverage sector?

    The countries driving most of the growth of the food and beverage sector are the primary emerging market economies of China ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What metrics are commonly used to evaluate companies in the food and beverage sector?

    Some of the key metrics most commonly used to evaluate companies in the food and beverage sector are profitability measures, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who are Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors?

    Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors are Sprouts (SFM) and Trader Joe's. However, Whole Foods strategy — convincing people ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are tradable commodities?

    Tradable commodities consist of basic goods used in commerce that are often interchangeable with other goods of the same ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  2. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  3. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  4. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  5. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  6. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center