Leadership is a key driver of employee engagement for agencies like the Agriculture Department, which rose from 16th to ninth in the Best Places to Work rankings in 2016. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said his agency has been hard at work for the past seven years, after a call from the White House prompted his leadership team to develop an engagement plan.
USDA officials open the VegUcation tent at the first farmers market of the season in Washington, D.C. The tent offers 10-minute lessons on how to pick, prepare and store seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took part in the opening ceremony Wednesday for the Great Green Fleet, a year-long initiative that demonstrates the sea service’s efforts to transform its energy use.
The Agriculture Department said it saved more than $1 billion over the last three years by acting more like one organization, instead of a collection of many bureau fiefdoms. Equal in importance to the savings, the Blueprint for Stronger Service initiative sparked a culture change among USDA employees. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Executive Editor Jason Miller how the savings kept USDA going, despite budget and mission stresses.
Secretary Tom Vilsack said employees saw opportunities to buy smarter, telework more and rethink long-held practices under the Blueprint for Stronger Service initiative. He said after saving money across the board on back-office functions, the Agriculture Department’s goal is to save another $100 million from strategic sourcing.
The sixth annual Feds Feed Families campaign is now underway for the summer after a kick-off event on Monday. The theme of this year is to “Help Knock Out Hunger.”
June 1 marks the start of the sixth annual Feds Feed Families event where federal employees donate food items and their time to help the hungry. Last year’s drive netted 9 million pounds of donated food.
Furloughs at the Agriculture Department are looking increasingly unlikely following Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s request to shift funding and the department’s ongoing efforts to find alternative cost savings. A USDA spokeswoman confirmed last week that the department wouldn’t have to furlough employees in either the Farm Service Agency or the department’s Rural Development division.
The Agriculture Department is addressing long- standing discrimination claims by minorities and women with better workforce training, more accountability and a deeper look at its data. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack shares with The Federal Drives recent efforts to address the agency’s shaky civil rights history.
The agencies are making $30 million available for companies to investigate the possibilities for creating military biofuels. The projects could help achieve the President’s energy goals, military energy security and rural economic improvement.