U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
Official Symbol and Seal of the Department
September 19, 2013
OPI: Office of Procurement and Property Management, Property Management Division
1 Purpose 1
2 Cancellation 1
3 Policy 1
4 Use 2
5 Inquiries 3
Appendix A Official Symbol of the Department of Agriculture A-1
Appendix B Official Seal of the Department of Agriculture B-1
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 USDA (See Appendix B).
This regulation supersedes 5160-001, Official Symbol and Seal of the Department, dated November 25, 2002.
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 in accordance with the Visual Standards Guide provided by the Director, 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 in the following manner:
(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, 5160-003, Identification Signs;
(3) Official exhibits and informational display materials of the Department;
(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;
(7) Printed on employee’s business cards and used only when representing the Department on official business; and
(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 the Department recommends one product or project over another without written permission from the Director, Brand, Events, Exhibits and Editorial Review Division (BEEERD), 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 Director, BEEERD, OC, by Heads of Agencies or their designee.
Inquiries regarding the symbol and seal and their appropriate use shall be referred to OPPM.
Official Symbol of the Department of Agriculture
(Image for display purposes only. Do not copy.)
In an effort to reduce associated costs with administrative operations and signatures of products produced by the Department, the current USDA symbol was created in conjunction with the Department’s reorganization in 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 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 USDA symbol is the single, most visible asset of USDA. It immediately identifies USDA to the world. The simple design portrays USDA as a modern organization rooted in tradition but focused on the future of agriculture.
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, BEEERD, OC.
The symbol is to be reproduced only from art supplied by OC (available in electronic format).
The symbol shall be reproduced in either one or two colors. The official colors for the USDA symbol are dark blue (Pantone Matching System (PMS) 288) and dark green (PMS 343). When reproduced in one color, the symbol shall be black or the dominant color used in the information product. When the symbol is placed on a color field, it should be reversed to white.
Refer to the ‘Visual Standards Guide’ for detailed information on the USDA symbol (e.g., color, position and placement, visibility, preferred type fonts, etc.).
Official SEAL of the Department of Agriculture
(Image for display purposes only. Do not copy.)
The Official USDA Seal was created in 1894. It was adapted for use as a general identifier or signature, within the publication of the Department’s Visual Management Manual in 1980. The seal is relegated for use on legal documents, in the Office of the Secretary, and for other protocol functions as originally mandated by Congress.
By an Act of Congress, approved August 8, 1894, the Secretary of 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-eighths 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 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 the Department.
The dates on the scroll represent the year the Department was founded by act of Congress (1862), and the year the Department was made an Executive Office headed by a Secretary of cabinet rank (1889). The 44 stars represent the states in the Union in 1889.