Science & Technology Program

The Science & Technology Program (S&T) provides scientific, certification and analytical services to the agricultural community to improve the quality, wholesomeness and marketing of agricultural products domestically and internationally. S&T provides support to USDA Agencies, Federal and State agencies, and private sector food and agricultural industries. S&T is organized into four divisions: Laboratory Approval & Testing Division  (LATD); Monitoring Programs Division (MPD); Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO); and Seed Regulatory and Testing Division (SRTD).

Our Laboratory Approval and Testing Division provides lab testing and approval services to facilitate domestic and international marketing of food and agricultural commodities. The National Science Laboratories (NSL) is a fee-for-service lab network used by both industry and government with locations in Gastonia, NC, and Blakely, GA. NSL provides chemical, microbiological, and bio-molecular analyses on food and agricultural commodities. We also approve, or accredit, laboratories to perform testing services in support of domestic and international trade.

Our Monitoring Programs Division administers the Pesticide Data Program (PDP). PDP is a national pesticide residue monitoring program and provides a comprehensive pesticide residue database. PDP manages the collection, analysis, data entry and reporting of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply, with an emphasis on those commodities highly consumed by infants and children. The program is implemented through cooperation with State agriculture departments and other Federal agencies. PDP data are used primarily by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct ongoing evaluations of consumers’ dietary exposure to pesticides.

Our Plant Variety Protection Office provides intellectual property protection to breeders of new varieties of plants.  We examine new applications and grant certificates that protect varieties for 20 years (25 years for vines and trees).  The certificates are recognized worldwide and allow faster filing of foreign PVP applications.  Certificate owners have exclusive rights to market and sell their varieties, manage the use of their varieties by other breeders, and enjoy legal protection of their work.

Our Seed Regulatory and Testing Division administers the Federal Seed Act (FSA) and several fee-for-service programs that facilitate the movement of U.S. seed in domestic and international markets. Under the authority granted by FSA, and through cooperative agreements with the 50 states, we serve as the final authority in matters related to mislabeled seed shipped across state borders. Our fee-for-service activities include a quality testing program for seed lots (purity, germination, weed-seed content, seed health and bioassays), process verified seed accreditation and training programs, and a varietal certification program for seed moving internationally through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes.

Contact Information

Science & Technology Program            
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service        
1400 Independence Avenue. SW STOP 0272        
Washington, DC 20250-0272
Office of the Deputy Administrator

Deputy Administrator – Dr. Ruihong Guo
Room 2918 - South Building
(202) 720-8556

Associate Deputy Administrator – Dr. Kerry R. Smith
Room 2912 – South Building

Laboratory Approval and Testing Division
Room 2912 – South Building

Acting Director - Dr. Kerry R. Smith

Monitoring Programs Division
Room 2911 – South Building

Director - Brenda Foos

Plant Variety Protection Office
Room 2919 – South Building

Commissioner – Jeffery Haynes  

Seed Regulatory and Testing Division
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite C
Gastonia, NC
(704) 810-8884

Director – Ernest L. Allen

View the S&T Org Chart