U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a department of the Executive branch of the U.S. government. Its purpose is to develop and execute policy on farming, agriculture and food. The USDA dates back to 1862 and the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln and aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers; promote agricultural trade and production; work to assure meat, produce and egg safety; protect natural resources; foster rural communities; and end hunger.
Charles F. Conner was sworn in as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture on May 2, 2005, by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
Crop and livestock data provided by the USDA are closely watched for price cues for the commodity futures markets.
Prior to establishment of futures regulator Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1974, the Department of Agriculture, through the Commodity Exchange Authority (CEA), regulated all U.S. futures markets, both agricultural and non-agricultural.