What Does the Secretary of Agriculture Do?

The Secretary of Agriculture is a presidential Cabinet member responsible for the United States Department of Agriculture, whose obligation is to support America's food providers, farmers, ranchers and growers, in their efforts to provide safe, healthy and plentiful food supplies, as stated by the USDA. The secretary also consults with committees within the USDA. He establishes department policies, prioritizes research projects, and determines and strategizes its goals.

As head of the USDA, the secretary is also charged with coordinating all states to develop new technologies, such as GMO biotechnology, and to effectively communicate its usefulness to the farming community, as outlined in a Cornell Law Information Institute article. The secretary is also responsible for overseas marketing of U.S. agrarian commodities. He is charged with funding and creating jobs and improving roads, housing and utilities in rural America.

As stated by AllGov.com, the department establishes dietary guidelines, oversees food assistance programs and conducts nutrition education. The USDA is broken down into numerous divisions that handle various aspects of food processing activity. One vital sector is the Food Safety and Inspection Service that is charged with safeguarding food supplies from contamination by requiring meat, poultry and egg products to meet rigid standards in labeling and packaging, which helps prevents food-borne health risks, such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria.