Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Programs and Services

These guidelines pertain to information about the programs and services that USDA agencies and offices provide to the public. The information quality criteria included in USDA's General Information Quality Guidelines comprise the quality standards that USDA agencies and offices will follow in developing and reviewing information on USDA programs and services and disseminating it to the public. These supplementary guidelines focus largely on making the information useful to the public. As such, this type of information should be customer driven and meet customers' needs.

  • Information should be comprehensive.
    Information describing the programs and services available from USDA agencies should include all pertinent information customers need to effectively use the programs and services and obtain benefits. Examples of this information include a description of the program's objectives, the benefits it provides, criteria for eligibility, how and where to apply, how acceptance and amount of benefits are determined. The information also should include instructions for contacting national, regional, and/or local personnel directly. Pertinent deadlines should be clearly cited and set to afford customers sufficient time to respond.
  • Information should be timely and reflect the most current information available.
  • Information should be presented clearly.
    Present the information clearly and completely so that the intended audience can easily understand it. Keep language as simple as the subject permits. Provide a point of contact to which clients may refer questions. 
  • Information should be accessible.
    Make the information available in media-print, electronic, audio, video, etc., appropriate to the client population of the program or service. As appropriate and necessary, make the information available in languages other than English.