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Privacy Policy


Thank you for visiting the PLANTS web site and reviewing our privacy statement. The policy of PLANTS and the United States Department of Agriculture is clear: We will collect no personal information about you when you visit our web site unless you choose to provide that information to us. Here is how we handle information about your visit to our web site:

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If you do nothing during your visit but browse through the web site, read pages, or download information, we will gather and store in log files certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store only the following information about your visit:

  1. The Internet domain (for example, "" if you use a private Internet access account, or "" if you connect from a university's domain) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you access our web site;
  2. The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
  3. The date and time you access our site;
  4. The pages you visit and the number of characters sent to your computer;
  5. If you linked to the PLANTS web site from another web site, the address of that web site; and
  6. If you access certain portions of the PLANTS web site that require a password, that activity will also be recorded.
  7. PLANTS uses "cookies" that expire when you leave the site to aid in navigation and are also sometimes used to keep track of information as you move from page to page. PLANTS does not use cookies that persist after you leave the site. For a detailed discussion of how cookies are used at PLANTS, please read our FAQ on the subject.

The logs are periodically summarized and analyzed in order to study site usage over time and to perform other studies to help us improve the site's organization, performance, and usefulness. We use this information to help us make our site more useful to visitors - to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors are using. We do not track or record information about individuals and their visits.

If You Send Us Personal Information

If you choose to provide us with personal information, as in an e-mail to the PLANTS Webmaster and submitting it to us through our web site, we use that information to respond to your message and to help us locate for you the information you have requested. We do not collect personal information for any purpose other than to respond to you. We only share the information you give us with another government agency if your inquiry relates to that agency, or as otherwise required by law. Moreover, we do not create individual profiles with the information you provide or to give it to any private organizations. PLANTS does not collect information for commercial marketing.

If you contribute to the PLANTS Distribution Update

When you contribute to the PLANTS Distribution Update you are providing scientific data that must be documented as to its source, and we or others in the scientific community may need to confirm details with you. Therefore we will keep your name and contact information on file, and at your discretion we will also share this information with other users of Distribution Update. If this in not acceptable to you, we regretfully cannot accept your data. Please be assured that we have the greatest regard for your privacy. We will observe the following guidelines regarding your personal information:

  1. We will collect from you only your name and contact information.
  2. We will store it on disk at the NRCS Information Technology Center.
  3. We will keep this information to support the data you have contributed.
  4. We will not make it available to anyone in any way outside of the reports available in the Distribution Update except as necessary to validate the data. In particular, we will not release your information to any commercial concern under any circumstances. However, we are required by law to release information to law enforcement agencies with legal jurisdiction during a criminal investigation.
  5. If a data submission record cannot be validated we will delete the contact information for that record.

If you subscribe to the Distribution Update email list server we will collect minimal personal data from you as well. If you remove yourself from this list we will delete your contact information from our files. We will not share list membership data with other members or with any other party as noted above.

Web site Security

  1. For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.
  2. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations (for example, to investigate an attack by hackers), no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes.
  3. Monthly extracts of the log files are archived and stored off-line at our discretion for an indefinite period of time. Some statistical summaries derived from these data may be retained online or off-line at our discretion for an indefinite period of time.
  4. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Links to Other Sites 

Our web site has links to many other governmental and private groups. Once you access another site through a link that we provide you are subject to the privacy policy of the new site.

Comments or Questions

If you have any comments or questions about the information presented here please forward them to: