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What we do

Since its inception in 1962, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has exemplified service and dedication to the public good.  We conduct audits, investigations, and reviews to accomplish the following three strategic goals:

  1.  Strengthen USDA’s ability to protect public health and safety and to secure agricultural and Department resources.
  2.  Strengthen USDA’s ability to deliver program assistance with integrity and effectiveness.
  3.  Strengthen USDA’s ability to achieve results-oriented performance.

USDA OIG's work promotes economy, efficiency, and integrity in USDA programs and operations.  USDA's budget is one of the largest in the Government, and the Department's nearly 100,000 employees run approximately 300 programs.  These programs provide a wide array of services and benefits nationwide, including providing the Nation with nutrition assistance, ensuring public safety, and distributing benefits to the Nation's farmers and producers in the wake of natural disasters.

USDA OIG partners with the Department to:

  • Recommend policies and actions to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness;

  • Investigate, detect, and prevent fraud, waste, and mismanagement;

  • Inform the Secretary of Agriculture, Congress, and management about problems, and progress toward solutions;

  • Report criminal violations to the U.S. Department of Justice;

  • Operate a Whistleblower Hotline;

  • Comment on legislation and regulations; and

  • Maintain liaison and oversight for external audits and conduct our own or joint investigations with other law enforcement agencies.

How we do it

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, established OIG as an independent and objective unit with our separate budget, personnel, purchasing and other legal authorities. However, we partner with Department management to ensure recommended changes strengthen program operations.

USDA OIG both uncovers problems and stimulates improvements. We focus on high-impact areas such as fraud, employee integrity, or programs where significant dollar savings for USDA can be made. We particularly look at vulnerable areas that are new or recently changed, or that have weak controls and thus may not effectively prevent problems.

On occasion, our staff collaborate closely on multidisciplinary teams.  At USDA OIG, we emphasize the synergy that can be achieved by blending audit, investigative, and data analytic functions.  We also expend considerable effort in forestalling problems. Most notably, we review new legislation and work with the USDA managers responsible for implementing it.

Where we are

OIG is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has regional offices located in:

  • Atlanta, Georgia;
  • Beltsville, Maryland;
  • Kansas City, Missouri;
  • Chicago, Illinois;
  • New York, New York;
  • Oakland, California; and
  • Temple, Texas.

USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:

USDA Director of the Office of Civil Rights
Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410

or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.