More than 220 USDA employees met Thursday at the Varsity Theatre in Davis, Calif. to share their thoughts during the first listening session designed to help implement a cultural transformation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Members of the USDA Cultural Transformation Task Force were present to hear ideas and to ensure this effort results in a more diverse, inclusive and high performance organization.
“Our goal is to make USDA a model employer, provider and lender that is highly effective in its work, honors diversity and is an enjoyable place to work,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in his opening statement via video.
The first of these five regional listening sessions was held in this historic, rural town and in the Varsity Theatre — a public venue built in the 1950s near the University of California at Davis, one of the first land-grant agricultural universities. For two hours employees walked up to the microphones to share their comments on five transformational topics, that included employee development; talent management; recruitment, retention, customer focus and community outreach.
Nearly 20 state, regional and local offices were represented at the session, including NRCS, RD, FSA, FSIS, RMS, APHIS and Forest Service. USDA Assistant Secretary for Administration and Task Force Chairperson Perlie Reed was joined by task force members, Alma Hobbs, deputy assistant secretary for administration and Steve Silverman, acting general counsel. Joining California Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Val Dolcini from the state office in Davis, Calif., was NRCS State Conservationist Ed Burton and RD State Director Glenda Humiston.
USDA staff leave the Varsity Theater after the Cultural Transformation Listening Session.
NRCS Fresno staff member Curtis Tarver expresses his thoughts for the Task Force.
USDA staff came to Davis from as far as 100 miles to speak on cultural transformation.