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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Information Quality Guidelines
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Information Quality Guidelines


The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has established procedures to ensure research quality, objectivity, utility and objectivity.  These procedures allow the public to seek and obtain correction of information disseminated by the agency.  Moreover, these procedures are established in accordance with Section 515 of Public Law 106-554, codified at 44 U.S.C. 3516, and in accordance with the USDA Quality of Information Guidelines available at:


Information Quality Requests for Correction of Information Disseminated by



ARS reports annually to OMB the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding agency compliance with OMB and agency guidelines and how such complaints are resolved.


Information to be Submitted to ARS with a Request for Correction


To seek a correction of information, a written request with the following elements should be submitted:

  • Statement that the Request for Correction of Information is Submitted Under USDA's Information Quality Guidelines
  • Requestor Contact Information
    The name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number (if any), email address (if any), and organizational affiliation (if any) of the person requesting the correction.
  • Description of Information to Correct
    The name of the ARS publication, report, or data product; the date of issuance or other identifying information such as the URL of the web page; and a detailed description that clearly identifies the specific information contained in that publication, report, or data product for which a correction is being sought.
  • Explanation of Noncompliance with OMB and/or USDA Information Quality Guidelines
    An explanation that describes how the information fails to meet either the OMB or USDA Information Quality Guidelines.
  • Explanation of the Effect of the Alleged Error
    An explanation that describes the requestor's use of the information in question and how the requestor is affected by the alleged error.
  • Recommendation and Justification for How the Information Should Be Corrected
    The requestor should state specifically how the information should be corrected and explain why the corrections should be made.  A request for correction that is specific and provides evidence to support the need for correction is likely to be more persuasive than a request that is general, unfocused, or that simply indicates disagreement with the information in question.

This guidance for the content of requests for correction of information is not intended to constitute a set of legally binding requirements.  However, the ARS Quality Information Officer may be unable to process, in a timely fashion or at all, requests that omit one or more of the requested elements. Requestors bear the "burden of proof" with respect to the necessity for correction as well as with respect to the type of correction they seek.  The ARS Quality Information Officer will base the decision on the merits of the information provided by the requestor.  


Where to Submit a Formal Request for Correction


All requests for correction of ARS information must be submitted by letter, fax, or email to:

Valerie Nelson Herberger, Quality of Information Officer

Agricultural Research Service

Room 1-2248




Phone: (301) 504-1640

FAX:      Fax: (301) 504-1648



Agency Review of Requests

Based on its review of the information you provide, ARS will:

• Determine whether a correction is warranted and, if so, what action to take. The nature, influence, and timeliness of the information involved, the significance of the correction, and the magnitude of the effort will be considered in deciding the level of review and any corrective action.

• Respond to you by letter, e-mail, or fax within 20 working days. Our response will explain the findings of the review and the actions we will take. If your request will require more than 20 working days to resolve, we will state the reason for the additional time and provide an estimated decision date.

• Inform you of your appeal rights and the appeal process, if your request will not be met.
We are continually seeking to improve our Quality of Information Guidelines. Please submit comments and suggestions about these guidelines to:
Valerie Nelson Herberger, Quality of Information Officer.

Public Disclosure of Requests for Correction of Information Disseminated by ARS and Requests for Reconsideration of ARS Decisions

No Requests for Corrections have been received to date.


No Requests for Reconsideration of ARS decisions have been received to date.


Privacy Act Statement


USDA is authorized to obtain certain information under Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law No. 106-554, codified at 44 U.S.C. 3516, note).  Information is needed by USDA to process the request for correction and allow USDA to reply accordingly.  This information is needed by USDA to respond to the requestor and initiate follow-up contact with the requestor if required.  Requestors should not send USDA their Social Security Number.  Requestors are advised that they do not have to furnish the information but failure to do so may prevent their request from being processed.  The information requestors furnish is almost never used for any purpose other than to process and respond to their request.  However, USDA may disclose information to a congressional office in response to an inquiry made on behalf of the requestor, to the Department of Justice, a court, other tribunal when the information is relevant and necessary to litigation, or to a contractor or another Federal agency to help accomplish a function related to this process.


Last Modified: 12/9/2009
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