7 USC 1762 - Personnel

(a) Appointment 
To effectuate the carrying out of the purposes of this subchapter, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to appoint such personnel as he determines to be necessary and, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to assign such personnel to service abroad.
(b) Titles; rank and privileges; appointments of Agricultural Counselors 
Officers or employees assigned or appointed to posts abroad under this subchapter shall have the designation of Agricultural Counselor, Agricultural Attache, or such other titles or designations that shall be agreed to by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Agriculture, and shall be accorded the same rank and privileges as those of other counselors or attaches in United States embassies. An Agricultural Counselor shall be appointed in any nation
(1) to which a substantial number of governments with which the United States competes directly for agricultural markets in such nation assign agricultural representatives with the diplomatic status of counselor or its equivalent; or
(2) in which

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(A) the potential is great for long-term expansion of a market for United States agricultural commodities, and
(B) competition with other nations for existing and potential agricultural markets is extremely intense.

Not less than ten Agricultural Counselors shall be appointed within three years after October 21, 1978.

(c) Attachment to diplomatic missions 
Upon the request of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of State shall regularly and officially attach the officers or employees of the United States Department of Agriculture to the diplomatic mission of the United States in the country in which such officers or employees are to be assigned by the Secretary of Agriculture, and shall obtain for them diplomatic privileges and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by Foreign Service personnel of comparable rank and salary.
(d) Assignment to United States 
Any officer or employee appointed and assigned to a post abroad pursuant to this subchapter may, in the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, be assigned for duty in the continental United States, without regard to the civil service laws (and without reduction in grade if an appropriate position at the employees grade is not available in any agency of the Department of Agriculture), for a period of not more than three years: Provided, That the total number of such employees assigned for duty in the continental United States under this provision shall not exceed fifteen at any one time: Provided further, That this Act shall not increase the number of persons employed at grade GS16, GS17, or GS18.