FAS Information

Document Accessibility

The Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, aims to make documents on its World Wide Web server accessible to the widest possible audience, including persons with visual disabilities.

Section 508 of The Rehabilitation Act -- Web Accessibility

FAS is committed to making its web sites accessible to all USDA customers and employees. All of the agency web sites are undergoing review and redesign as necessary to ensure that they meet or exceed the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Many of the pages now meet the Section 508 accessibility standards. Furthermore, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service continues to work on making all web sites accessible. Thank you very much for your patience through this redesign process. If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement, please contact the Web Master of this page.

Many of the documents on the FAS website are in HTML or ASCII (plain text) formats. These formats are generally accessible to persons using screen-reading software. We also have a large number of documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) format, and this format is not compatible with most screen-reading software.

Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) Files

Persons using screen-reading devices generally cannot directly read documents in PDF format. Adobe Systems, Inc., provides a free translation service through their Access web pages which will translate PDF files to web pages (HTML documents). This can be used in one of three ways:

  1. The user's browser can be configured to use this service as a helper application, so that every time they click on a link to a PDF document, this document is automatically sent to the Access server and returned as a web page.
  2. The user can go to the www.access.adobe.com server and fill out a form. When this form is submitted, the server will retrieve the PDF document, translate it, and return it to the user.
  3. The user can send an e-mail message to the Access server, giving the address of the document to be translated. The server will then get this document and translate it to either a web page or a text (ASCII) document. Note that this is the only one of the three options that also gives the ability to produce a text document from the PDF file.

For pages that are not viewed directly from the Internet, Adobe Access is a free downloadable accessibility plug-in for use with the latest versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for virtually all operating systems. This plug-in helps to overcome some of the problems of reading PDF documents with screen readers, but for systems with Internet access, Adobe recommends using the forms-based Access translation service instead.

Comments on our accessibility policies are invited, and should be sent