FOIA March Madness 2019 - FOIA funding, staffing, and activities (Department of Agriculture)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary of the United States of America.
Multi Request FOIA March Madness 2019 - FOIA funding, staffing, and activities
Est. Completion None
Fix Required


From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

The following materials related to the funding, staffing, and activities of this FOIA office:

***Budget materials***
- - - > > > for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, all budget materials or plans applicable to offices responsible for processing and response to FOIA requests and appeals submitted to this Bureau and its offices.

***Staffing orders/reports/contacts***
- - - > > > for the years 2017 and 2018, staffing reports and plans, including the count of employee numbers and for offices responsible for processing and responses to FOIA requests and appeals submitted to this Bureau and its offices.
- If this report is available in a form that includes the total number of hours worked for FOIA personnel, that version would be preferred.
- If reports are available for each month, that version is preferred.
- According to this agency’s “About Us” website (
“The Department has decentralized its FOIA operations among 13 bureaus and offices, each of which has a Bureau/Office FOIA Officer leading its separately managed and resourced FOIA Program. Secretarial Order 3244 (November 12, 2002) anchored Bureau/Office FOIA Offices within their respective CIOs' Offices. That order was superseded by Secretarial Order 3309 (December 14, 2010), which replaced Bureau/Office CIOs with Assistant Directors for Information Resources and initiated a series of significant ongoing organizational changes as part of the Department's IT Transformation.
Bureau/office FOIA Officers are responsible for tracking, managing and responding to FOIA requests for records in their organization's possession and control, and administering their organization's FOIA programs. In addition to Bureau/Office FOIA Officers, some bureaus/offices also have Regional FOIA Coordinators and Field Offices that process requests. Some bureaus/offices have their program offices (i.e., the offices whose records are the subject of the requests) prepare the responses to FOIA requests. These responses are reviewed by the FOIA Officer or Regional FOIA Coordinator and the appropriate FOIA attorney (when the decision is to withhold information, make a discretionary release, or deny a fee waiver).”

- - - > > > all staffing reports and plans for the year 2019
- If reports are available for each month, such a version is preferred.

- - - > > > contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers (if available), for each FOIA officer currently tasked with an open public records request

***FOIA requester categories***
- - - > > > for the years 2017 and 2018, the designated category of each requester of a FOIA request to this office, including those assigned to the following categories:
* commercial;
* educational and noncommercial scientific institutions;
* representative of news media requester;
* all other requesters
- If this information is kept in an aggregate form including the number of requesters by fee category by year, a copy of this report will suffice to fulfill this element of the request.

***FOIA fee waivers***
- - - > > > for the years 2017 and 2018, the number of fee waivers granted by this office and, if available, the tracking numbers for the FOIA requests to which waivers were granted

***FOIA fee collection***
- - - > > > for the years 2017 and 2018, any report capturing the following information:
* total estimated processing and copy fees quoted to FOIA requesters
* total processing and copy fees collected by this Bureau from each fee category
- If this information is kept in an aggregate form, such as a FOIA log, that material would be sufficient to satisfy the bullet points “FOIA requester categories” and “FOIA fee collection” if it captures the following information:
* FOIA tracking number
* requester fee category
* amount processing and copy fees associated with the request
* the status of the requester’s payment for the request

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Beryl Lipton

From: U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary

Good evening Ms. Lipton,

This e-mail acknowledges receipt of the below March 22, 2019, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department FOIA Office (DFO).

The DFO is under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and serves as the focal point for USDA’s FOIA program. The DFO provides coordination and ensures agency wide compliance with the FOIA. The DFO processes requests and appeals on behalf of the Office of the Secretary, the Offices of the Under Secretaries, and Departmental Administration’s (DA) components. For a complete listing of DA’s components, please visit

The FOIA regulation 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) requires USDA to make a determination in response to a FOIA request within 20 business days from its date of receipt. In unusual circumstances, the Federal agency time limit may be extended by 10 business days as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If your request seeks numerous records that will necessitate a wide-ranging search including searches with components and possible consultations with components that have a substantial interest in the determination of this request, USDA will invoke a 10 business day extension for determination of your request. You have the option to narrow the scope of your request to limit the number of potentially responsive records.

Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Pursuant to USDA FOIA Regulations, Title 7 CFR §1.8(d), the USDA processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt.

Regarding FOIA fees, provisions of the FOIA allow USDA to recover part of the cost of complying with your request. For purposes of fee assessment, you have been categorized as a media requester, pursuant to 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section (5)(c). In accordance with 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section 6(a)(4), FOIA fees are waived where the amount of the fee is $25.00 or less.

A search will be conducted for records responsive to your request. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that a FOIA analyst will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.

Your request has been assigned FOIA Case No. 2019-DA-02961-F. Please refer to this case number in any future correspondence. If you have any questions regarding the processing of this request, please contact<>. For additional information regarding USDA FOIA regulations and process, please refer to the information available on-line at<>.

We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.


The Departmental FOIA Office Team

From: Beryl Lipton


Thanks so much for your message. Please let me know if you have any questions for me.

Best wishes,

From: U.S. Department Of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary

Good morning,

Upon further review of your records request, it appears it was intended for Interior – not USDA as there is a reference to Interior’s “About Us” webpage at As such, we kindly ask that you direct your request to

Kindest Regards,
The Departmental FOIA Office Team


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