July 1, 2022

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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Agriculture

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What GAO Found

In July 2021, GAO identified 11 priority recommendations for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since then, USDA has implemented four of those recommendations by, among other things, revising policies and procedures to help improve its oversight of the funds it awards to nonfederal entities.

In June 2022, GAO identified six additional priority recommendations for USDA, bringing the total number to 13. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • protecting the safety of the food supply.
  • reducing improper payments.
  • strengthening protections for wage workers.
  • improving USDA’s oversight of federal assistance and awards.
  • improving information technology and cybersecurity.

USDA’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Mark Gaffigan at (202) 512-3841 or gaffiganm@gao.gov.

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