The Biden-Harris Management Agenda Vision (PMA) lays the foundation for an effective, equitable, and accountable government that delivers results for all Americans through three main priority areas. Last year, the Administration issued an executive order on transforming federal customer experience and service delivery to rebuild trust in government. Periodically we share how agencies are working towards achieving the PMA goals and those under different executive orders.
Read below how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to improve customer experience (CX) both in support of the executive order and Priority Two of the PMA.
A Human First Approach at USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers a diverse set of programs and services to an equally diverse customer base—farmers, scientists, children, families, foresters, state governments, and others. As a large government department with global impact and reach, it is important that USDA provides an excellent customer experience (CX) in an equitable and reliable manner.
USDA’s Office of Customer Experience (OCX) recognizes that a positive CX is essential to improving organizational performance, and partners with all of USDA’s agencies and offices to provide a human-centered approach and voice to initiatives. OCX leads USDA’s CX commitment and continues to collect and assess insights and feedback from their customers and employees to inform USDA strategy, policymaking, and track progress against outcomes. OCX recently published DR 1270-001, U.S. Department of Agriculture Customer Experience Policy, to set forth the policies, requirements, and responsibilities for USDA’s CX program.
USDA is also demonstrating a commitment to CX through actions taken in response to the White House Executive Order on CX by:
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is working toward enabling participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to use their benefits to shop online. The agency is working with the FNS Grantee Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to support innovative WIC state agency projects to test online ordering and transactions. Over the past year, the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition has worked with a total of eight sub-grantees to develop WIC online shopping projects that are planning to go live with testing in 2023. FNS will soon announce American Rescue Plan-funded grants to additional state agencies to plan to support online shopping and will provide additional grant support next year.
FNS is identifying opportunities to simplify access to nutrition assistance programs such as school meals, including expanding the use of direct certification. The agency is working with states across the nation to increase the use of Medicaid data to identify children eligible for free or reduced price meals, without the need for a separate application. USDA continues to work with states interested in the direct certification with Medicaid demonstration projects which allows children in income eligible households who participate in Medicaid to be directly certified for school meals, meaning the children can receive free or reduced school meals without their families completing a separate application. The application period just closed for new states to participate in the demonstration projects for the 2023-2024 school year, and 26 states are currently participating in this option.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is designing and implementing a simplified direct farm loan application process. The application form is being streamlined for release in early 2023, preceded in October 2022 by an online Loan Assistance Tool that gives loan applicants an interactive, plain language, step-by-step guide to the loan making process. These improvements and others being developed are expected to increase equitable access to farm loan credit and reduce incomplete and withdrawn applications.
To learn more about USDA’s Customer Experience improvement efforts, please visit the Office of Customer Experience website.
To learn more about customer experience in the federal space visit the Performance.gov CX page.