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ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

MARCH 10, 1953

REVISED

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Secretary BENSON. The present organization of the Department is shown by the chart attached to the memorandum of March 10, 1953. An enlarged reproduction of that chart is displayed before you.

Senator Smith. Can all the members see the chart?
Senator DWORSHAK. Yes.

Secretary BENSON. You will note that the programs and operations of the Department are divided among four major groups:

Research, Extension and Land Use Commodity Marketing and Adjustment Foreign Agricultural Service Agricultural Credit Services The other two-Departmental Administration and Office of the Solicitor-are "auxiliary agencies” of the Department and exist for the purpose of servicing these major groups--the “line agencies” of the Department. All programs and activities conducted by the Department are thus presently assigned to one of these four major groups.

I should like to comment briefly on the group designated as "Foreign Agricultural Service.” Heretofore the work of the Department dealing with foreign trade and foreign agriculture has been handled through an Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations. This Office was originally assigned in the organization announced on January 21, 1953, to the Research, Extension, and Land Use Group. A special study of the subject was undertaken by my staff. In that work we had the benefit of the services of Mr. F. R. Wilcox, assistant general manager of Sunkist Growers (formerly known as California Fruit Growers Exchange) and a former employee of the Department, who came here at our request to assist us in this study.

We came to the conclusion that it is highly desirable to place much greater emphasis upon foreign trade matters. With the substantial surpluses accumulating in some of our important crops, it is of the utmost importance to find outlets in foreign markets. It is also of great importance to make a continuing study and close observation of agricultural production and exports in foreign areas, in connection with our price support and other programs. These matters are of such tremendous importance that we concluded they must be handled through a major operating group whose primary function was to deal with these problems rather than through other agencies or groups in which the subjects relating to foreign trade would tend to become incidental to their activities dealing with our own domestic agriculture.

This regrouping was not intended as a reorganization pursuant to the Reorganization Act of 1949. Rather it was a coordinating plan for grouping the various agencies of the Department for purposes of more efficient supervision. Such action was dictated by sound principles of public administration. Its purpose was to prescribe clearly defined administrative channels for reporting to the Secretary, to reduce the number of people reporting directly to him, and to assure an adequate coordination and review of common problems within a given subject matter area.

There was no transfer of functions from one agency within the Department to another. All of the agencies continued to retain their status as separate agencies. However, the Agricultural Conservation Programs Branch of the Production and Marketing Administration was transferred from that Administration and set up as a separate agency within the Research, Extension and Land Use Group. This was done for the purpose of more effectively coordinating the agricultural conservation program with the activities of other agencies concerned with soil and water conservation and utilization.

A principal purpose of Reorganization Plan No. 2 now before you is to enable us to make reasonable changes, from time to time, within the several agencies, including areas heretofore closed to us, by transfers of certain functions from one agency to another, by consolidation or merger of agency units where practicable and by any other means which will promote economy, eliminate duplication, and increase efficiency.

Fundamentally, the plan is an authorization to the Secretary of Agriculture to make reasonable redistribution of functions of the various agencies, officers, and employees of the Department to meet changing conditions so as to accomplish the foregoing objectives.

TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS TO THE SECRETARY

Section 1 of the plan transfers to the Secretary of Agriculture, with certain exceptions to be noted, all functions not now vested in him of all other officers and of all agencies and employees of the Department of Agriculture.

There are presently in the Department some 20 agencies. Of these, one-half have been created in such manner that their functions are vested in the Secretary and he has the present power to redistribute or delegate them. These agencies are:

Agricultural Research Administration Production and Marketing Administration Commodity Exchange Authority Extension Service Foreign Agricultural Service Office of Budget and Finance Office of Information Office of Personnel Office of Plant and Operations Library With respect to the other agencies covered by this plan, many, functions are vested, by statute or by prior reorganization plans under earlier statutes, in the agency itself or in the head of some other officer of the agency.

With respect to such functions the Secretary does not now have adequate authority of transfer, consolidation, or distribution. Such agencies include:

Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Forest Service
Soil Conservation Service
Farmers' Home Administration
Rural Electrification Administration

Office of the Solicitor
The remaining four agencies, Commodity Credit Corporation,
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Office of Hearing Examiners
and Farm Credii Administration, are excepted from the plan.

This situation not only prevents such reassignments of functions as might be necessary to bring about greater economy and efficiency but it also raises questions as to the authority and responsibility of the Secretary of Agriculture, as head of the Department, to direct and control the agencies under his jurisdiction. By vesting functions in the Secretary, the plan will permit the establishment of clear lines of authority and responsibility, an objective upon which the Hoover Commission placed great stress.

PLAN FOLLOWS BASIC HOOVER COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS

The opening three paragraphs on the first page of Hoover Commission's Report on General Management of the Executive Branch were:

In this part of its report, the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government deals with the essentials of effective organization of the executive branch. Without these essentials, all other steps to improve organization and management are doomed to failure.

The President, and under him his chief lieutenants, the Department heads, must be held responsible and accountable to the people and the Congress for the conduct of the executive branch.

Responsibility and accountability are impossible without authority-the power to direct. The exercise of authority is impossible without a clear line of command from the top to the bottom, and a return line of responsibility and accountability from the bottom to the top.

The Commission stated thatto remedy this situation is the first and essential step in the search for efficiency and economy in the executive branch of the Federal Government.

The same report included three specific recommendations, as follows:

Recommendation No. 14 (p. 34):

Under the President, the heads of departments must hold full responsibility for the conduct of their departments. There must be a clear line of authority reaching down through every step of the organization and no subordinate should have authority independent from that of his superior.

Recommendation No. 18 (pp. 37–38):

Each department head should receive from the Congress administrative authority to organize his department and to place him in control of its administration.

Recommendation No. 20 (p. 41):

We recommend that the department head should be given authority to determine the organization within his department.

In the Commission's Report on the Department of Agriculture, it referred to the first report on general management, from which the foregoing quotations are taken, as follows:

We have urged in our first report that the foundation of good departmental administration is that the Secretary shall have authority from the Congress to organize and control his organization, and that separate authorities to subordinates be eliminated.

The proposed transfer of functions to the Secretary of Agriculture is thus in substantial conformity with these basic recommendations of the Hoover Commission.

The earlier President's Committee on Administrative Management which reported in 1937 had reached similar conclusions. Report of the Committee, With Studies of Administrative Management in the Federal Government, 1937 (p. 37), the following significant conclusion appears:

The work of reorganization is a continuing task growing out of and intimately related to the day-to-day work of the executive agencies. It is a task that cannot be done once and for all. It will require continuing attention. The assignment of the multitude of present activities to appropriate departments is not something which can be carried out ruthlessly on a wholesale ieprint basis without doing serious damage to the work and without destroying executive responsibility. * * * In other words, the task of reorganization is inherently executive in character and must be entrusted to the Executive as a continuing function.

EXCEPTIONS TO TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS

Reorganization Plan No. 2 provides certain exceptions to the transfer of functions to the Secretary. These exceptions are set forth in paragraph (b) of section 1. The functions of hearing examiners are excepted in accordance with the intent of the Administrative Procedure Act. This exception is consistent with the status of hearing examiners in other departments and agencies.

The corporations of the Department, together with their boards of directors and officers, are excepted because they have a different legal status than other constituent agencies of the Department. These corporations have independent legal personalities and conduct business transactions in their own names. Their powers and functions are specified by charters. The corporations so excepted are:

Commodity Credit Corporation
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation

Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation There is also the specific exception of the Farm Credit Administration and any agency, officer, or entity of, under, or subject to the supervision of the said Administration.

The exception of the entities supervised by it is for the same reasons which prompted the exception of the corporations of the Department. These entities include:

The banks for cooperatives (12 regional and i central)
The Federal intermediate-credit banks (12 in number)
The Federal land banks (12 in number)
The production-credit corporations (12 in number)
The national farm-loan associations (1,164 in number)

The production-credit associations (499 in number). The Farm Credit Administration itself was excepted since it was anticipated at the time the plan was transmitted that general legislation covering this field would be placed before the Congress at an early date.

This proposal has since been introduced by Senators Aiken and Ellender in the Senate as S. 1505 and by Congressman Hope in the House as H. R. 5335. The bill is one on which representatives of farm organizations have been collaborating for a considerable time. It seems inappropriate that the Farm Credit Administration should be included in the plan of reorganization when general legislation covering the entire subject is before the Congress for its consideration.

The Farm Credit Administration and its functions were transferred

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