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Plain Writing

Our Pledge to You

Our Pledge: Clear, Useful, Understandable, PLAIN LANGUAGE

We at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are committed to improving our service to you by writing in plain language. We will use plain language in any new or substantially revised document that:

  • Provides information about any of our services and benefits;
  • Is needed to obtain any of our benefits or services; or,
  • Explains how to comply with a requirement that we administer or enforce.

We pledge to provide you with information that is clear, understandable, and useful in every paper or electronic letter, publication, form, notice, or instruction we publish.

On July 19, 2012, the Center for Plain Language issued the first of federal agencies' efforts to comply with the Plain Writing Act. The report card grades agencies on their efforts to comply with the Plain Writing Act and each agency's plain writing supporting activities. USDA received the highest grades among federal agencies in both categories. We are honored by this success, but there is more work to do and we need your help. Please let us know if you have trouble understanding any of our documents.

You can read about the .

Why We Make This Pledge

Our pledge is in keeping with our long-standing commitment to provide you with the information you need from us. (PDF, 123 KB) requires that all federal agencies write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."

We encourage you to read our Plain Writing Act Compliance Reports to learn about our plan and progress on ensuring compliance to the Act at USDA.

How You Can Help

Tell us how we're doing! If you have trouble understanding any of our documents or web site material, please the Office of the Executive Secretariat at [email protected]. Your comments and suggestions will help us further improve our communications.

Learn more about plain writing:

Plain Writing Resources for USDA Agencies and Offices

On October 13, 2011, the took full effect. In order to assist you with your Plain Language training and ensure that USDA complies with the Act, we have listed some resources for you to explore.

The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is the official interagency working group designated to assist in issuing plain writing guidance. The PLAIN web site includes guidelines on plain language and tools for writing in plain language.

  • (PDF, 125 KB)

In addition to the Federal Plain Language website tools and resources available, USDA has developed its own materials to assist employees with Plain Language training and compliance, and guide you through the process of integrating plain writing into covered documents.

Some other good resources developed by other Federal agencies that discuss how to write using Plain Language in technical writing can be found using the links listed below. These include guides on how to write Federal Register notices, legal documents, short rules, and more.

  • (PDF, 1 MB)
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