WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2023 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at this time offered the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s (USDA) highest honor to 39 groups of distinguished staff who made essentially the most vital accomplishments that assist USDA’s mission, strategic targets, goals and priorities. Vilsack additionally offered a Secretary’s Act of Valor Award to a workforce that risked harm to themselves by trying lifesaving actions throughout a catastrophe response.
“Onerous-working and devoted staff are on the coronary heart of the service we purpose to supply agricultural producers and all Individuals,” Vilsack mentioned. “The work being honored this 12 months contains figuring out the bioenergy potential of a crop, enhancing the resilience of provide chains, and an act of valor trying to rescue pilots of a helicopter downed whereas combating the Moose Hearth in Idaho in July 2022.”
All USDA staff, staff of different Federal companies, and organizations collaborating with USDA to perform the Division’s mission are eligible to be nominated for a Secretary’s Honor Awards, that are honorary and don’t embrace financial awards. Awards got to groups whose work superior USDA’s six strategic targets.
Three groups of staff had been acknowledged for his or her work in serving to USDA obtain its Strategic Objective 1, which is Combating Local weather Change to Assist America’s Working Lands, Pure Assets, and Communities:
- 23 staff from throughout the Division who designed and applied USDA’s paradigm-shifting Partnerships for Local weather-Good Commodities initiative. The objective of those partnerships is to develop markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse fuel advantages of climate-smart commodity manufacturing, and supply direct, significant advantages to manufacturing agriculture, together with for small and underserved producers,
- 44 staff who ready USDA and its stakeholders to reply to the challenges of local weather change by means of agency-level adaptation planning and advancing local weather literacy throughout USDA, and
- 17 staff who developed a 10-12 months Wildfire Disaster Technique and applied the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation and Inflation Discount Act for fuels administration in our nation’s forests.
Eight groups had been honored for his or her efforts to assist USDA obtain its Strategic Objective 2, which is Guaranteeing America’s Agricultural System is Equitable, Resilient, and Affluent:
- 248 staff for his or her service and professionalism in the course of the nationwide Extremely Pathogenic Avian Influenza response, defending home poultry well being, U.S. commerce and meals security,
- 5 staff for advancing pennycress as a brand new industrial crop for the nation. Pennycress can be utilized as a canopy crop or rotational crop and produces an abundance of seeds whose oil may very well be utilized in biodiesel manufacturing,
- 67 staff who applied the Emergency Aid Program and the Emergency Livestock Aid Program, making a course of to expedite funds to producers and easing burdens for producers and USDA staff,
- 2 staff who served as a part of a pure catastrophe response workforce within the New Orleans space that ensured grain producers had helpful export markets obtainable in the course of the harvest season,
- 20 staff who launched the Workplace of City Agriculture and Progressive Manufacturing as a everlasting useful resource to extend entry of USDA applications by city producers,
- 206 staff who designed and applied the Pandemic Help Program, enabling USDA to serve extra producers,
- 17 staff who expanded and streamlined double crop insurance coverage alternatives in additional than 1,500 counties, making it simpler for U.S. farmers to develop meals, improve meals provide, and decrease meals prices for American households, and
- 10 staff who elevated the U.S. potato market into Mexico with an estimated export market of $250 million throughout the first 5 years.
4 groups had been acknowledged for his or her work attaining Strategic Objective 3, which is Fostering an Equitable and Aggressive Market for All Agricultural Producers:
- 6 staff who supplied ingenuity towards crucial provide chain resilience efforts in fiscal years 2021 and 2022,
- 5 staff who exceeded all 8(a), socioeconomic, and small enterprise targets in fiscal 12 months 2021 by increasing outreach to small companies, advancing the goals outlined in Govt Order 13985,
- 5 staff who launched worldwide coalitions to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture whereas growing sustainability, and
- 18 staff for implementing the Micro Farm Program, enabling USDA to raised serve smaller producers who present their communities with regionally grown and wholesome meals.
Six groups acquired honor awards for his or her work in assist of Strategic Objective 4, which is Offering All Individuals Protected, Nutritious Meals:
- 5 staff for his or her collaborative effort throughout authorities to draft nationwide coverage steering prohibiting discrimination and enhancing equal and equitable entry to FNS applications,
- 5 staff who developed an revolutionary waiver processing device that expedited the approval of kid vitamin waivers that turned obligatory as a result of COVID pandemic,
- 5 staff who refined and executed the 2019 Farm to College Census, which connects college students within the Nationwide College Lunch Program with meals from native producers,
- 5 staff who demonstrated excellence in meals security by giving the regulated business six up to date tips to assist management foodborne pathogens,
- 3 staff who supplied authorized recommendation and technical help in response to the toddler method recall, making certain continued entry to method for contributors within the Particular Supplemental Diet Program for Ladies, Infants and Kids, generally known as WIC, and
- 5 staff who developed and applied a $50 billion emergency meals help program for low-income households with kids in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleven groups had been honored for his or her efforts to assist USDA obtain its Strategic Objective 5, which is Increasing Alternatives for Financial Growth and Enhancing the High quality of Life in Rural and Tribal Communities:
- 5 staff who finalized the first-of-its-kind Forest Service co-stewardship settlement with 5 tribes of the Bears Ears Fee and the Bureau of Land Administration,
- 5 staff who established a novel demonstration mission that promotes self-determination and meals sovereignty within the Meals Distribution Program on Indian Reservations,
- 5 staff who applied and expanded the a number of meals system transformation applications, specializing in equity and resilience.
- 5 staff who finalized the Good Neighbor Authority settlement to reinforce the capability of tribal nations and advance co-stewardship inside ceded territories within the Higher Lake States,
- 5 staff who developed a plan, created new instruments, and streamlined processes to efficiently administer the 2021 June Space Survey at diminished prices in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- 5 staff who helped guarantee equitable and equal entry to USDA procurement alternatives,
- 58 staff who, as members of the OneUSDA Southeast Alaska Sustainability Group, applied $25 million of investments knowledgeable by native voices, permitting a OneUSDA method to enhancing financial, cultural, and conservation situations,
- 5 staff who established the Rural Companions Community, creating community-based options in rural and Tribal communities,
- 5 staff who coordinated the ReConnect Program’s traditionally vital investments and equitable entry to rural broadband,
- 5 staff who applied the American Rescue Plan Act’s Single Household Housing Direct dwelling mortgage refinancing program, and
- 13 staff who strengthened NRCS Watershed Program investments to make the applications accessible and equitable, which led to elevated investments in underserved communities.
Seven groups had been honored for achievements supporting Strategic Objective 6, which is Attracting, Inspiring, and Retaining an Engaged and Motivated Workforce that’s Proud to Signify USDA:
- Members of the Idaho Metropolis Hotshots with the Boise Nationwide Forest, the Twin Peaks Handcrew with the Utah Division of Forestry, Hearth and State Lands and a USDA worker for actions following the downing of a helicopter in the course of the response to the Moose Hearth in Idaho in July 2022.
- 15 staff who developed and applied a $50 billion emergency meals help program for low-income kids in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- 5 staff who developed and applied revolutionary approaches to the planning and award of the Enterprise Enterprise Companies software program contract enabling the continued productiveness of all USDA staff,
- 8 staff who led the FPAC Incident Administration Group to create insurance policies, procedures and knowledge instruments to supply a safer working surroundings for workers and prospects nationwide,
- 5 staff who demonstrated teamwork, dedication and focus to rent greater than 400 folks in an expedited timeframe to carry FNS staffing to ranges not achieved in additional than 30 years,
- 7 staff who elevated the closure price of U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace audits from final fiscal 12 months thereby enhancing monetary and operational effectivity, and
- 5 staff who accomplished a mission to modernize the George Washington Carver Heart to interchange ageing techniques to adjust to up to date codes and improve area utilization.
The Secretary Honor Awards had been offered Thursday in USDA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
USDA touches the lives of all Individuals every day in so many optimistic methods. Within the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is reworking America’s meals system with a larger give attention to extra resilient native and regional meals manufacturing, fairer markets for all producers, making certain entry to secure, wholesome and nutritious meals in all communities, constructing new markets and streams of earnings for farmers and producers utilizing climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to fairness throughout the Division by eradicating systemic obstacles and constructing a workforce extra consultant of America. To be taught extra, go to www.usda.gov.
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