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The United States Department of Agriculture USDA, also known as the Agriculture Department, is the U.S. federal executive department which is responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, as well as food. USDA aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and abroad. The head of USDA is the Secretary of Agriculture, who is a member of the Cabinet. The current currently the position is occupied by Tom Vilsack. USDA was formed in 1862. President Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a Commissioner without Cabinet status.