This notice provides FSA's policy regarding the nature, purpose, use and sharing of any information collected via this Web site. The information you provide on a FSA Web site will be used only for its intended purpose. We will protect your information consistent with the principles of the Privacy Act, the e-Government act of 2002, the Federal Records Act, and as applicable, the Freedom of Information Act.
Submitting information is strictly voluntary. By doing so, you are giving FSA your permission to use the information for the intended purpose. If you do not want to give FSA permission to use your information, simply do not provide it. However, not providing certain information may result in FSA's inability to provide you with the information or services you desire.
There are several types of information we collect. These include:
- Automatically Collected Information
- Information Collected for Tracking and Customization (Cookies)
- Personal Information
- Information from Children
FSA never collects information for commercial marketing. We will only share your information with another government agency if it relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law. FSA never creates individual profiles or gives your information to any private organization.
We collect and temporarily store certain technical information about your visit for use in site management and security purposes. This information includes:
- The Internet domain from which you access our Web site (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from an educational domain);
- The IP address (a unique number for each computer connected to the Internet) from which you access our Web site;
- The type of browser (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer) used to access our site;
- The operating system (Windows, Unix) used to access our site;
- The date and time you access our site;
- The URLs of the pages you visit;
- Your username, if it was used to log in to the Web site; and
- If you visited this FSA Web site from another Web site, the URL of the forwarding site.
This information is only used to help us make our site more useful for you. With this data we learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use.
Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are retained temporarily as required for security and site management purposes only.
Information Collected for Tracking and Customization (Cookies)
A cookie is a small file that a Web site transfers to your computer to allow it to remember specific information about your session while you are connected. Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the Web site that provided it, and no other Web site can request it. There are two types of cookies, session and persistent. Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time.
FSA Web sites may use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site.
FSA makes use of a 90 day persistent cookie while conducting our ForeSee Online User Survey. We do this to remember you between visits so you will not be prompted to complete the survey again or if you opted out of the survey by closing the survey pop-up window
At no time is your private information, whether stored in persistent cookies or elsewhere, shared with third parties who have no right to that information. If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can turn them off in your browser. However, this may affect the functioning of some FSA Web sites.
If you choose to provide us with personal information, through such methods as completing a form or sending us an email, we will use that information to respond to your message and to help us get you the information or services you have requested.
Remember that email isn't necessarily secure. You should never send sensitive or personal information like your Social Security number in an email. Use postal mail or secure Web sites instead.
Some of our Web sites ask visitors who request specific information to fill out a registration form. For example, visitors requesting assistance via AskFSA may be asked to register to obtain assistance via email from FSA Subject Matter Experts. Other information collected at Web sites through questionnaires, feedback forms, or other means, enables us to determine visitors' interests, with the goal of providing better service to our customers.
Interaction with Children
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) governs information gathering online from or about children under the age of 13. Verifiable consent from a child's parent or guardian is required before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from a child under the age of 13.
We collect no information about you or your child, other than that detailed in the previous section, when you visit our web site unless you choose to provide information to us. When a FSA Web site needs to collect information about a child under 13 years old, COPPA required information and instructions will be provided by the specific Web page that collects information about the child. The Web page will specify exactly what the information will be used for, who will see it, and how long it will be kept.
There are several exceptions that permit collection of a child's email address without receiving parental consent in advance:
- To provide the parents with notice and to seek consent for communications with the child. Note: this may require collection of the parent's email address as well.
- To respond to a one time request from a child.
- To respond more than once to a child's request; i.e., subscription to a newsletter. However, parental consent is required prior to the second communication.
- To protect the safety of a child who is participating on the site; i.e., in a chat room.
- To protect the site or to respond to law enforcement; i.e., in the case of a Web site compromise.
Personal information about children under 13 years of age may be needed to respond to his/her communication to us, such as to receive a poster or to acquire information for a school project. Personal information about your child will be destroyed immediately upon completion of its intended purpose. On rare occasions, it may be determined that a communication from a child under 13 years old should be maintained for historical purposes. Should such an occasion occur, FSA will obtain the necessary consent from the child's parent.
Finally, we provide many on-line tools and services in support of FSA's mission. A child under 13 years old may inadvertently provide personal information to one of these services. If this should happen, the information about the child will be deleted immediately upon discovery.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this Web service remains available to all users, this Government computer system employs software programs that monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to appropriate law enforcement officials.
Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on FSA servers are strictly prohibited and may be punishable by law, including under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996.
Linking Policy and Disclaimer of Endorsement
FSA links to many Web sites created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. FSA provides links to these sites as a service to our users. The presence of a link is not a FSA or USDA endorsement of the site.
When users follow a link to an outside Web site, they are leaving FSA and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside Web site(s). FSA is not responsible for the information collection practices of non-FSA sites.
If you have any comments or questions about the Farm Service Agency website please complete our online comment form at AskFSA or call the FSA Webmaster at (202) 720-1593.