U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
Official Symbol and Seal of the Department
November 25, 2002
This regulation outlines requirements and procedures to be followed by agencies with regard to the use and/or reproduction of the Official Symbol of the Department of Agriculture (USDA)(See APPENDIX A) and the Official Seal of the USDA (See APPENDIX B).
This regulation supersedes 5160-1, Official Seal of the Department dated November 16, 1983.
The Official Symbol and Seal of USDA will be in the custody of the Director, Office of Procurement and Property Management (OPPM) who will be responsible for the safeguarding and proper use of both. The use of the Official Symbol of USDA must be used in accordance with the standards and management guidelines provided by the Director of Office of Communications (OC). No employee of the Department will affix the Official Seal to any document, nor will any employee reproduce the impression of the seal or duplicate the seal in exact replica and size.
a USDA Signature. The Official Symbol will be used as the Department’s signature. It will be displayed on information products produced by USDA throughout all media. The Symbol is to be used on the following products:
(1) Displayed in Department auditoriums, lobbies, areas frequented by the public, and other locations deemed appropriate, provided the hanging or attaching of such replicas to walls is in accordance with approved practices for the building;
(2) Official compound site signage, location signage and directional signage in accordance with Departmental Regulation, 5160-3, “Identification Signs;”
(3) Official exhibits and informational display materials of the
(4) Furnished for use in appropriate public meetings or for other educational or public purposes;
(5) Reproduced on all electronic digital publishing, video, Internet, and Intranet means;
(6) Reproduced on agency stationery, publications, and other printed materials in accordance with the Design Manual and Visual Management Guides issued by OC; and
(7) Printed on employee’s business cards and used only when representing the Department on official business.
(8) The symbol is not to be used to constitute warranty of private sector products, organizations, or their endeavors. It shall never be displayed or presented in a manner that suggests that the Department recommends one product or project over another without written permission from the Director, OC.
b Verification of Official Legal Documents. The Official Seal will be used only to verify legal documents of the Department under instructions issued by OC. Requests to affix the seal to documents will be submitted in writing to the Design Center, OC, by Heads of Agencies or their designee. A list of designees will be forwarded to the Design Center.
Inquiries regarding the Symbol and Seal and their appropriate use shall be referred to the Office of Procurement and Property Management.
Official Symbol of the Department of Agriculture
The Official USDA Seal was created in 1894. It was adapted for use as a general identifier, signature, within the publication of the Department’s Visual Management Manual in 1980. The seal is being withdrawn from use as the designated Departmental Identifier. The Seal will maintain a role within the Department’s information system. It will be relegated for use on legal documents, in the Office of the Secretary, and for other protocol functions as originally mandated by Congress.
In an effort to reduce associated costs with administrative operations and signatures of products produced by the Department, the new USDA symbol was created in conjunction with the Department’s recent reorganization of 1996. It represents all of USDA’s activities in its mission areas and agencies. The symbol resulted from a collaborative effort of private and public sector team members working through an objective process. Over 21,000 existing agriculture-related symbols were researched and reviewed. Approximately 20 new symbol designs were created and modified before a working committee made its recommendations. The committee represented all mission areas within the Department from across the Nation and Washington, DC. From the recommendations presented, the Secretary of Agriculture made the final selection in 1996 with concurrence from all Assistant Secretaries.
The symbol is designated for display on information products of the Department throughout all media. The symbol is not to be used to constitute warranty of private sector products, organizations, or their endeavors. It shall never be displayed or presented in a manner that suggests that the Department recommends one product or project over another without written permission from the Director, Office of Communications (OC).
The USDA Symbol is designated for use in one or two colors. When reproduced in one color, it shall be the color of that ink or paint. When “reversed” (dropped out) out of a color, it shall be the color of the paper, material, paint, laminate, embedment, or other application. The official colors for the USDA symbol are dark purple for the letters USDA, and dark green for the soil graphic. The two colors are specified in the Pantone
Matching System (PMS), a standard in the printing and graphic arts industry. When paint, laminates, or other applications are used, match the PMS as specified by the manufacturer. For four-color process printing, the PMS colors are “built” out of the standard four-color printing inks-cyan, yellow, magenta, and black, specified as CYMK. Four -color process printing to match PMS is: Dark Purple is PMS 288= Cyan 100%, yellow 0%, magenta 65% and black 30% Dark Green is PMS 343= Cyan 100%, yellow 69%, magenta 0% and black 60%
For reference, the proportion of the symbol is 1: .685. It is to be reproduced only from camera ready art supplied by the Office of Communications’ Design Center. It is available electronically as well.
Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture
By an Act of Congress, approved August 8, 1894, the Secretary of the Agriculture was authorized and directed to procure a proper seal to be known as the Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture, by an order dated June 21, 1895, Honorable J. Sterling Morton, at that time Secretary of Agriculture, proclaimed the adoption of an Official Seal for the Department of Agriculture in the following terms:
“ORDERED, That the Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture shall be (as described in Heraldic terms), two and three-eights inches in diameter (azure), a shock of corn (or), upon a base (vert) an American plough proper. All within a double annulet (argent), outer roped, inner beaded, charged with the inscription: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, and at the base, a scroll bearing the legend: “1862.AGRICULTURE IS THE FOUNDATION OF MANUFACTURE AND COMMERCE. 1889.” (or). A diapered background of 44 stars (argent) for the States of the Union.”
Records indicate that the design for the Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture was drawn by A. H. Baldwin, an artist in the employ of the Department, and submitted for criticism to Bailey, Banks and Biddle, of Philadelphia, Pa. Secretary Morton showed a great amount of interest in the design of the Official Seal, even to the point of holding several conferences with Department officials and commercial concerns.
A green or gold seal and green ribbon are used on many documents with the impression of the seal. There are no official requirements for the use of green; however, it is deemed to be appropriate for use by this Department.