Office of External Affairs

The Office of External Affairs is the central point of contact for the Rural Development mission area on legislative and public affairs activities and operates under the direction of the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development.

The Office of External Affairs consists of three major areas of responsibility: Legislative Affairs, Public Affairs, and Publications.

Legislative Affairs:

  • Monitors congressional activity for relevant actions,

  • Helps prepare Rural Development officials for hearing appearances,

  • Responds to congressional inquiries regarding the mission area’s programs, including the status of constituent casework,

  • Is the point of contact for congressional correspondence,

  • Coordinates meetings between congressional offices and key Rural Development staff, 

  • Prepares and distributes funding announcements for individual projects to congressional offices.

Public Affairs:

  • Coordinates the development and dissemination of information on Rural Development programs and policies,

  • Prepares news releases for distribution to national and state media,

  • Coordinates television and radio interviews, talking points, and speeches for senior leadership,

  • Manages the Rural Development website and social media pages, including Twitter (@usdaRD) and YouTube (USDARurDev) sites,

  • Develops new media assets and tools, using new technologies, to enhance Rural Development communications.

  • Prepares and distributes NewScan, a daily roundup of national and local media coverage about Rural Development. NewScan is distributed nationwide, including Congressional offices.


  • Oversees development and design of the mission area’s official publications, including brochures, reports, handouts, presentations, and posters, which provide an overview of Rural Development programs and services,

  • Writes and edits materials, secures photos and artwork, and guides publications through Departmental review,

  • Designs convention displays and exhibits,

  • Coordinates transportation of displays to events around the nation,

  • Manages warehousing and distribution of the mission area’s publications.

The Office of External Affairs helps Rural Development succeed by creating awareness of program benefits, successes, challenges and needs with Congress, the media, and the American public.