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Secretary Vilsack: Why I’m Proud of Our USDA Employees

USDA employees across the country and around the world do critical work that impacts millions of lives. I am proud of our employees for many reasons, and I want to share just a few of their great accomplishments under the Obama Administration.

  1. Since 2009 the Rural Housing Service has financed 743,309 home loans.
  2. Since 2009 the Rural Housing Service supported improvements to 276 hospital and medical clinics, 166 schools and 401 libraries in rural America.
  3. Since 2009 the Rural Utilities Service completed 176 broadband projects providing new or improved service to 104,471 subscribers, including 5,858 businesses and 647 critical community facilities.
  4. Since 2009 the Rural Utilities Service financed 3,785 water projects providing clean water to thousands of rural residents.
  5. Since 2009 the Rural Business Service awarded 15,727 grants and loans to aid 65,636 businesses expand opportunity and create jobs.
  6. Since 2009 the Rural Business Service authorized 7,586 awards under the Rural Energy for America Program, saving or generating 8,549,590 megawatt hours of energy.
  7. Since 2009 the Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service expanded summer feeding programs to an additional 9,546 sites, bringing the total number of sites to 42,266.
  8. Since 2009 the Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service instituted Electronic Benefit Transfer systems in an additional 3,087 Farmers Markets to allow SNAP beneficiaries greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting more local and regional food systems.
  9. Since 2009 the Farm Service Agency processed 159,475 loans to farmers and ranchers, with a majority of the loans going to beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged producers.
  10. Since 2009 the Natural Resources Conservation Service entered into 190,822 contracts under Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), providing conservation benefits for more than 108 million acres.
  11. Since 2009 the Farm Service Agency enrolled 286,635 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, bringing into this conservation effort or retaining 14,131,055 acres.
  12. Since 2009 the Forest Service partnered with state and local interests in 23 projects under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program to improve over 500,000 acres of forests, producing 1.2 million tons of biomass for renewable energy production.
  13. Since 2009 the Forest Service and the brave men and women of the Service have helped fight more than 285,000 forest fires, risking their lives to protect lives and property.
  14. Since 2009 the National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported research projects resulting in 392 patent applications.
  15. Since 2009 the Agricultural Research Service in the area of Genetics, Genomes and Biotechnology alone generated over 3,500 publications, 830 Material Transfer Agreements, and 70 patent applications filed.
  16. Since 2009, the Foreign Agricultural Service helped challenge 751 sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to the export of American agricultural products, helping to spur record exports of American agricultural products.
  17. Since 2009 the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reduced processing time for non-regulated status petitions involving biotechnology by 332 days.
  18. Since 2009 the Agricultural Marketing Service assisted in purchasing $6.8 billion of product, helping to stabilize producer income.
  19. Since 2009 the Food Safety and Inspection Service adopted new Performance Standards for poultry and turkey inspections that will prevent 25,000 illnesses a year due to Salmonella and Campylobacter.
  20. The Food Safety and Inspection Service partnered with the Ad Council to launch the “Food Safe Families” ad campaign.  Since then, USDA consumer food safety messages have reached an estimated 291 million people, helping families and caregivers of young children prepare safe food.
  21. The National Agricultural Statistics Service worked on the 2012 Agricultural Census and obtained a response rate of over 80 percent to the survey sent to more than 3 million producers.
  22. Since 2009 the Economic Research Service has published, on a yearly basis, a fact sheet on the condition of the rural economy that highlights persistent poverty and employment challenges that rural America faces, reminding policymakers of the importance of addressing those challenges.
  23. Since 2009, the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has identified more than 460 instances of underfunded market accounts of funds held in trust for livestock sellers, and 110 instances of market weighing violations, returning to producers over $14,000,000.
  24. Since 2009, USDA’s Departmental Management has spearheaded the Blueprint for Stronger Service that has saved USDA more than $920 million – an effort which to date has allowed USDA to avoid furloughs and layoffs as a result of the sequester.

These are just 24 of the hundreds of examples of extraordinary work going on around the country by USDA employees. Our nation is truly fortunate that so many dedicated people serving the American public are back to work, so that these accomplishments can continue to grow.


7 Responses to “Secretary Vilsack: Why I’m Proud of Our USDA Employees”

  1. Lynn Faircloth says:

    maybe you should talk to the public before talking about how proud you are of those employees. I have had a loan with USDA for 13 years and out of that 13 10 of those years I have been treated like dog….! There has been one employee out of that time who has bent over backwards to help me-ONE out of the last 13 years I have been paying on this house loan. Recently with the shut down-this place seems to think the american public shut everything down…I emailed and called and left messages. It has been a mess.
    Next time, ask people who deal directly with those USDA employees.

  2. Susan Caggiano says:

    Ms Faircloth – are you aware of how many agencys fall under the USDA??? Please do not “paint us all with the same brush”. I work for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and I for one am VERY proud of my agency and of my co-workers who deliver the Farm Bill and many, many other programs to America’s farmers, ranchers, landowners, and others helping to feed our country and protect our natural resources for generations to come. We’ve also come to the rescue during the past decade of strange and violent weather – washing out homes. roads, and bridges many times with emergecncy programs designed to rebuild and protect. I personally don’t think this was the proper forum for you to sound off on. Those of us hardworking, professional employees have been made to do much, more with much less – all the while to continue to serve the American people. You don’t mention what state you reside in or which agency you actually deal with – but I for one thank Secretary Vilsack’s for his comments and compliments. We have endured a 3 yr pay freeze (so far), budget cuts, and the recent government shutdown. Some of us are having a hard time ourselves and it’s nice to know that someone higher up actually has noticed our hard work and diligence we do in soooo many ways – for our fellow Amnericans and our for the sake of our country and environment. Shame on you. Please take your complaints to the actual state/agency in which the complaint stems from.

  3. Helen says:

    Thank you

  4. Martha says:

    Ms. Faircloth-I have to agree with Ms. Caggiano. There are many offices associated with USDA, and even though you feel as you have been treated like a dog, you should feel blessed to have gotten a home loan at all. I applied for a home loan through Rural Development and waited over a year before getting approved, but I am blessed for it. No one else would give me a loan due to my insufficient credit history, and I have to say that there were a few complications, but in the end, everything worked out great!! I am also an employee of USDA and feel that my co-workers and I do a great job serving our customers.

  5. Gayle says:

    Why are the employees of the proper part of USDA NOT collecting the fines due to the USDA to the tune of nearly 3 MILLION dollars in relation to the transport of horses to slaughter. YES, a long list of fines/ laws broken / for the lack oh humane treatment for horses in transport. WE make the laws, why does this agency not collect the fines? This has been ongoing for years, One man owes over 200,000. Thanks You.

  6. Sue says:

    Dear Ms. Faircloth,
    Thank you for recognizing our employee who helped you so much. We all endeavor to serve every member of our public customers who comes to us for aid, and we certainly regret that budget considerations prevent us from employing the optimum number of people we need to make our services as personal and genuinely satisfying to all of the many people we interact with. We each do the best we can, despite the additional burdens due to a diminishing workforce. Like you, we were most unhappy recently, when we were shut out of our workplaces during the disagreements among the legislators in Congress. I assure you we are all still trying to catch up on the mountains of work, projects, emails and messages that accumulated during that forced absence, and we only hope they can discuss their differences the next time without resorting to punishing both you and us by this kind of disruption in service and workflow.

  7. Susan Caggiano says:

    Well said.

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