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Secretary Vilsack Highlights Partnership Between U.S. and Japan While in Tokyo

This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack left the beauty of a cherry blossom adorned nation’s capital to travel to the origin of the beautiful pink and white flowered trees—Japan (where one finds even larger crowds of tourists, amateur photographers, and general admirers of the cherry blossom trees than along Washington DC’s tidal basin this time of the year). Vilsack is in Japan to highlight the outstanding partnership that exists between the United States and Japan, and to promote U.S. agricultural exports, as part of President Obama’s efforts to expand U.S. exports under the National Export Initiative. Read more »

Opening Doors for Greater Transparency and Engagement at USDA

Today is an exciting day at USDA – and across the government – as we release our Open Gov Plan that formalizes plans to integrate openness, transparency, participation and collaboration into our every day activities.

The path has been an exciting one, and USDA has met the Open Government Directive deliverables with help from employees and the public. Central to our efforts are core values of accountability and accessibility; bridging the gap between the American People and government.

USDA Open gov promo graphic -, read the plan.On January 29 we launched the USDA’s Open Gov Website, the start of a dynamic conversation with the public to help shape the Open Gov Plan. Nearly 900 individuals contributed to the USDA Open Community with 108 ideas, 512 votes, and 196 comments. Last week we released the draft plan to show our progress and solicit additional feedback before issuing the formal plan. Many ideas and comments were incorporated to our plan.

We hope that the impressive level of civic engagement continues; as the plan evolves and grows we will provide regular feedback and updates on progress.  We are working to transform the culture and processes throughout the Department to fully embrace open government and apply its principles every day that are rooted in every agency, at every level.

This is only the beginning as we move forward to translate the principles of open government into lasting and tangible improvements in the way we make decisions, solve problems and address challenges together.

Amanda Eamich, Director of New Media U.S. Department of Agriculture