The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in a System of Records. A System of Records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the individual's name or some other personal identifier assigned to that individual. The PA informs individuals as to what information is maintained on them and where the information is stored; and allows individuals to access their records and to request amendments to the records. Records maintained in a System of Records are available to first-party requesters or their representatives unless the records fall within the exemptions of both the PA and the FOIA.
PA requests must be submitted in writing and mailed to:
REE FOIA/PA Officer
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Room 1-2248, Mail Stop 5128
Beltsville, MD 20705-5128
In making your request, it is important to identify the records being requested as accurately as possible, with as much detail that would be helpful for locating the information. You should include the following information:
- Your full name and address
- The specific documents you are seeking
- Time period covered by your request
- The name of the PA System of Records in which the records are maintained, if known
- The name of the individual(s), staff(s) or location name(s) and the location(s) where the documents are maintained, if known
- Telephone number and email address in case we need to contact you to clarify your request
To ensures that personal information will not be wrongfully disclosed, you will be required to provide proof of identity and submit a signed and notarized statement indicating that you are the individual to whom the records pertain. As an alternative to a notarized statement, you can provide a signed statement with the following information included in your request letter immediately above your signature:
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date].
If you are requesting records on behalf of another individual, you will be required to provide this office with a signed written consent from the individual to whom the records pertain.
The "Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974," prepared by the Department of Justice's Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties, is a discussion of the Privacy Act's disclosure prohibition, its access and amendment provisions, and its agency recordkeeping requirements. The link for the "Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974" is: http://www.justice.gov/opcl/1974privacyact-overview.htm.
Privacy Act Systems of Records maintained by the REE Agencies include:
Agricultural Research Service
Research Medical Records System on Patients and Human Volunteers Participating in Research, USDA/ARS-1
National Agricultural Statistics Service
Agricultural Survey Records, USDA/NASS-1
List Sampling Frame, USDA/NASS-2
Census of Agriculture Records, USDA/NASS-3
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) Record System, USDA/NIFA-1