The United States Department of Agriculture Employee Services & Recreation Association (ESRA) is one of the oldest and largest employee associations of its kind in the country. Formed in 1906, the Association provides a variety of services and programs to USDA employees.

In the DC area, ESRA provides services in the USDA Headquarters South Building Ag-Promenade, located in the sub-basement. These services include the ESRA Gift Shop, the ESRA Fitness Center, the Pit Stop Barber Shop, and several restaurants including The Green Olive, Kadai Indian Restaurant and Claudia’s Cafe. ESRA also operates a Fitness Center at the USDA complex in Riverdale, MD. In addition, ESRA puts on events throughout the year for employees such as vendor fairs, shopping bazaars, financial workshops and retirement seminars.

ESRA serves over 10,000 USDA employees in the Washington, D.C. metro area and an additional 100,000 employees nationwide. ESRA’s services are open to all USDA employees (including retirees), their families, and contract employees within the Department. Currently, there is no membership fee excluding membership dues to the Fitness Centers.

ESRA is a nonprofit organization (501.c.4) that operates in the Department under an MOU with the Secretary of Agriculture and a permit with the Office of Operations. Governance is provided by a Board of Directors who are USDA employees located in the DC area. Board members are voted on by existing members and are allowed time from their regular jobs to serve as volunteers and perform their duties for the betterment of their fellow employees.

ESRA is completely self-funded and day-to-day operations are carried out by full and part-time staff paid for from the various revenue sources of the Association. No funding is provided by the USDA and staff are not federal employees.

Meet the Staff

Samantha Tabarias

General Manager

Donna Mae Des Vignes

Fitness Center Attendant

Regina Pippen

Fitness Center Attendant

Patricia Joyner

Gift Shop Attendant & Vendor Coordinator

Meet the Board of Directors

John Reid

President & Acting Treasurer

Gilbert Stokes

Vice President

Shelton Smallwood,

General Counsel

Christopher Nelson


Nicola Sakhleh

Board Member

Ed Curlett

Board Member

Deb Beighley

Board Member

Gerald Raynorn

Board Member

Ronald Batcher

Board Member

Sterling August

Board Member