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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on agriculture, food, natural resources, rural infrastructure, nutrition, and related issues through fact-based, data-driven, and customer-focused decisions.
President Abraham Lincoln founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1862 with the goal of providing effective leadership to the Nation on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues. Since 1862, the dedicated public servants at USDA help millions of Americans every day. More information about the Department, our history, and our leaders can be found here.
To access additional agency performance documents visit the agency’s website.
The Gears of Government Awards recognize individuals and teams across the Federal workforce whose dedication supports exceptional delivery of key outcomes for the American people, specifically around mission results, customer service, and accountable stewardship.
Department of Agriculture award winners are listed below.
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Department of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Detected and addressed immediate danger to human life and property as first responders in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. With the assistance of local employees, the team visited over 1,000 people and identified over $25 million in emergency watershed projects.
Launched the Good Neighbor Authority to build public private partnerships that will improve forest health, reduce fuels and threats to communities and watersheds from catastrophic wildfires, and create more jobs and economic benefits.
Led an effort across government, industry, state, academia, and crop specialists to better detect and prevent weed seeds in U.S. soybean products. Their efforts protected access to the $12.4 billion Chinese soybean market and the livelihoods of American producers.
Worked with State agency and private-sector partners to ensure access to a safe, nutritious, and secure food supply and program flexibilities during the devastating hurricane season and the wildfires that impacted California. The team facilitated the distribution of 11 million pounds of food to feed groups and individual households after the disaster.
Created a resource handbook for rural citizens, businesses, and organizations to easily locate programs throughout USDA that support various types of rural broadband and e-connectivity technology projects. Their efforts support expanded connectivity which is critical to economic development, infrastructure improvements, education, and quality of life in rural America.
Developed and deployed the first ever “ethics app” in the federal government. The app provides accessible, effective, and on-demand ethics training to all USDA employees. The USDA is driving further cost savings by making it available to all of government.
Developed a customer-centric “Food Buying Guide” and mobile app to streamline information and increase efficiency in the Child Nutrition Program. Now more than 280,000 program operators know exactly how much food they need to buy and the nutritional value to better serve more than 34 million children daily.
Re-envisioned the way USDA supports producers in the aftermath of disasters. Their improvements helped hurricane and wildfire victims in Puerto Rico, California, Texas, and Florida get assistance more quickly and efficiently and set the standard for future programs.
Transformed an 80-year-old approach to support distressed agricultural industries and provide safe, nutritious food to low-income communities. Their efforts enabled USDA to help industries in weeks instead of months and provide food banks with more fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat.
Led a department-wide effort to streamline, simplify, and clarify USDA policies and improve labor relation activities. These changes have inspired senior leadership and employee confidence and strengthened the Department’s accountability to Congress and the American people.
Supported agricultural and critical infrastructure recovery in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The team often worked seven days a week, in physically demanding environments, and found innovative ways to re-open 20 USDA offices and rapidly deliver USDA programs across Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Designed a new program to address the negative impacts of recent international trade issues impacting U.S. agriculture on a break-neck timeline. This effort provides essential help to producers in the short-term and will help expand and develop new markets at home and abroad in the long-term.
Created the first Cabinet-level suite of comprehensive administrative dashboards for seven administrative functions. Ted’s work has helped USDA become more lean and accountable by maximizing employee performance and reducing operating costs.
Developed and led an employee engagement and feedback program across the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Jeremy’s program identified thousands of feedback points and immediate actions to improve training, efficiency, retention, and communication with front-line employees.
Dr. Samuel Cushman
Dr. Samuel Cushman
Trained 150+ Forest Service silviculturists, 300+ managers, graduate students, professors, and researchers in the latest landscape ecology methods for natural resources management. Dr. Cushman has spent his career working across sectors and agencies to strengthen stewardship of public/private lands.