Tree of fruit and a field of crops

Science & Technology Program

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

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 utilized by both industry and government. Through laboratories located in Gastonia, NC; Blakely and Dawson, GA; and Winter Haven, FL, NSL provides chemical, microbiological, and bio-molecular analyses on food and agricultural commodities. We also approve, or accredit, labs 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 data program. Through cooperation with State agriculture departments and other Federal agencies, 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. 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 seeds and tubers.  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.

Contact Information

Science & Technology Program            
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service        
1400 Independence Avenue. SW STOP 0272        
Washington, DC 20250-0272
Office of the Deputy Administrator
Acting Deputy Administrator – Melissa Tharp
Room 3543 - So. Bldg.
(202) 720-6766

Associate Deputy Administrator – Douglas E. Keeler
Room 3549 - So. Bldg.
(202) 720-3322

Laboratory Approval and Testing Division
Room 3523 – So. Bldg.

Director - Dr. Kerry R. Smith

Monitoring Programs Division
Room 0611 – So. Bldg.

Director - Diana Haynes

Plant Variety Protection Office
Room 4501– So. Bldg.

Commissioner - Dr. Paul Zankowski