The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is a regulatory agency, but it also serves as a marketing agency for Texas agriculture and is an agency committed to rural economic and agribusiness development. TDA is an entity that can provide financial assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers and value added enterprises.
TDA's operating divisions ensure the quality of consumer products before they are sold and ensure that the regulated products are used in a manner that is safe to health and environment through licensing, inspection and testing. There are four Divisions within TDA that perform services -- Pesticide Programs, Regulatory Programs, Marketing and Promotion, and Food and Nutrition.
TDA's Regulatory Division oversees a myriad of programs designed to protect both consumers and businesses by ensuring that the products they purchase or sell meet all applicable standards for quality and that fraud in commercial transactions is eliminated. This division manages programs that prevent the spread of harmful pests in Texas. This is accomplished through education, pest detection and eradication efforts. Another Regulatory Division program focuses on ensuring the quality of vegetable and agricultural seed sold in Texas, as well as ensuring the proper labeling of seed through testing and inspection. The Division also protects most every Texan by inspecting gasoline pumps and commercial scales to ensure accurate and fair measurements. The Regulatory Division is also responsible for overseeing various commodity related programs such as Organic Certification, Egg Quality, Handling and Marketing of Perishable Commodities, Grain Warehouse and Aquaculture. While each of the division's programs are focused on specific areas of commerce, they all function similarly in order to protect consumers against fraud and ensure a fair and equitable marketplace from which confidence can prevail.
The Pesticide Program Division encompasses worker protection, registration, certification and training; endangered species; risk assessment and toxicology; compliance and program development; and laboratory services.
Activities within the Marketing and Promotion Division include management of the livestock export pen facilities (where livestock are inspected and passed smoothly to and from Texas sellers to international buyers), market news, and the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service. The Marketing and Promotion Division has oversight of the GO TEXAN Partner Program. This program, begun in 1999, is a dollar-per-dollar matching fund promotion program designed to increase consumer awareness of Texas agricultural products and expand the markets for Texas agricultural products. This is done by developing a general promotional campaign for Texas agricultural products and advertising campaigns for specific Texas agricultural products. The campaigns are based on project requests submitted by selected applicants. GO TEXAN, launched by former Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, promotes all Texas agricultural products - food, fiber, wine and horticulture - under one easily recognizable trademark: a glowing brand in the shape of Texas.
The Rural Economic Development (RED) division is committed to rural economic and agribusiness development. TDA works closely with the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism, Texas Cooperative Extension Service (TCE) and many other public and private partners to increase opportunities for rural and agribusiness development and to promote and assist rural communities. TDA has several programs that assist and promote the use of Texas agricultural products to create or retain jobs through business development that includes value-added production, processing and marketing of agricultural products.
The Food and Nutrition Division administers the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs in Texas public schools for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to disbursing federal reimbursements to participating public school districts for the meals they serve, the division has also undertaken an aggressive public education campaign to promote nutritious eating habits and a healthy environment for all school children. Division staff works with school food service personnel statewide to foster nutrition education and enhanced lunchroom operations. The Division is also the liaison to 20 regional Education Service Centers, that provide technical assistance and training to child nutrition professionals across Texas. In addition to education and assistance, the division has compliance monitors who evaluate operations according to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations.
Our overall approach to customer service
Our compact covers the service provided to customers with regard to all services of TDA, including the main office in Austin, the five Regional Offices, four regional sub-offices, three seed laboratories, two metrology laboratories, six export pen facilities, one pesticide laboratory, and the Texas Agricultural Statistics service office.
For each of TDA's functions, our aim is to provide efficient, effective, and fair service. This compact has been developed after consultation with our customers and staff, and sets out:
how we will provide you with help and assistance;
the standards of service you can expect;
how you can help us deliver effective service and make suggestions for further improvement;
where you can obtain information about your legal rights and other entitlements; and
how to file a complaint, if you are unhappy with the service
Providing help and assistance to you
TDA is innovative in providing the help and assistance you deserve. Throughout the state, TDA works as a team in responding to your requests. We provide help either through the Internet, over the telephone, in writing, or in person at any TDA location.
For example, on our website, we link our GO TEXAN program members--growers, processors, farmers, and ranchers--with industry buyers and consumers.
Normal Business Hours
The main TDA office in Austin is open from 7:30am through 5:30pm Monday through Friday. TDA is open at least 50 hours a week to accommodate the schedules of our diverse customers. Most regional offices are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.
The TDA web address is http://www.TexasAgriculture.gov and e-mail may be sent to Customer.Relations@TexasAgriculture.gov.
The main number for the TDA office in Austin is (512) 463-7476 and our fax number is (888) 223-8861. TDA's nationwide Customer Service Hotline is (800)TELL-TDA (800-835-5832). Switchboards for the main TDA office in Austin are answered a week between 7:30am to 5:30pm, Monday through Friday.
Texas Department of Agriculture
Stephen F. Austin Building
1700 North Congress Avenue, 11th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
Texas Department of Agriculture
P. O. Box 12847
Austin, Texas 78711
Telephone numbers and addresses of your nearest TDA office should be on most correspondence you receive. Alternatively, details of TDA offices in your area may be found in your telephone book under Texas Department of Agriculture. Please note that some telephone books list federal, state, county and city offices in a separate section of the telephone book.
Regional offices, Sub-offices, and lab locations and contact information
Our standards of service
If you telephone us, our goal is to:
If you visit our TDA offices, our goal is to meet with you within 15 minutes of your arrival.
If you write to us at any location, our goal is to respond to each question or issue you have raised within 10 business days.
However you contact us, we will:
provide a clear, accurate and helpful response;
make clear what action you need to take next, and by what date;
give our names; and
be courteous and professional.
In addition, our goal is to provide prompt, accurate service.
If you e-mail us, our goal is to respond within 3 business days adhering to the same guidelines as with written correspondence.
Privacy and confidentiality
In handling your relationship with us, we will:
deal with them on a strictly confidential basis, within the law;
respect your privacy; and
find a private room or space for you if you visit us to discuss your affairs, should you prefer it.
Any special needs
If you have any special needs (such as a disability), we will provide whatever help we reasonably can. Most TDA offices are equipped with ramps, and, for the hearing impaired, we offer a Relay Texas telephone number, (800) 735-2988 (voice), (800) 735-2989 (TDD).
How you can help us
To enable us to deal with your concerns accurately and quickly, we sometimes need help from you. For example, we may ask you for more information. If we make such a request, please respond promptly, and provide any documents applicable to your concerns.
For example, if you contact us with a question regarding your license, please provide your TDA license number as shown on your license and on our correspondence with you.
Also, please notify us when your circumstances change - for example, when you change your mailing or email address. If you have a specific question regarding a TDA inspection, please provide a copy of that inspection report.
If you disagree with our decision
You may disagree with our interpretation of the law or the way we have applied it to your particular circumstances. If so, you should tell us why you disagree. You may contact our Legal Affairs and General Counsel Division to appeal our decision. Alternatively, if we have already made a formal decision in respect of your violation, you are entitled to appeal what we have done. We will explain how you can appeal your situation when you contact our Customer Relations Representative, at Customer.Relations@TexasAgriculture.gov.
If you wish to file a complaint
If, for any reason, you are unhappy about the way we have dealt with your concern, you should communicate your concerns to us. First contact the Regional Director of the office or sub-office in the nearest regional office or the Assistant Commissioner of the appropriate program. If you are still not satisfied with our assistance, you can refer the complaint to our Customer Relations Representative, at Customer.Relations@TexasAgriculture.gov.
Listening to your suggestions
We welcome your suggestions and will use them to improve our service and supporting processes. We supplement these with:
an annual survey covering all major customer groups;
town hall meetings to visit directly with our customers;
local and regional office surveys, as appropriate; and
other feedback from customers and stakeholders.
Please direct any suggestions for improvement (including this Compact) to TDA's Customer Relations Representative in Austin at Customer.Relations@TexasAgriculture.gov.