Goodbye “Forest Service,” hello “OneUSDA?”
That seems to be the directive issued yesterday by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a holiday greeting to employees in his department.
In his three-minute message, Perdue says that the individual offices and agencies that he oversees—including the Forest Service—will surrender their individual identities in the “days, weeks, and months ahead.”
“Too many times, we think of our individual offices, or in our agencies or about mission areas,” Perdue said. “But … segregating ourselves into those categories fails to recognize just how interconnected we are, how the work of one team complements or informs the work of another.”
The message was distributed to all Department of Agriculture employees on Tuesday with a link to a YouTube video that appears to have been uploaded on Dec. 21.
“So from today forward, you will hear all of our USDA leadership, from the Office of the Secretary on down, begin to refer to us as OneUSDA” Perdue said. “Not as APHIS or as the Forest Service, not as Rural Development or of FAS, not as distinct agencies sitting in the same office, like FSA, RMA, or NRCS. No, instead, we’re gonna be one team all working toward the same goals: OneUSDA.”
Perdue’s message apparently has not yet percolated to the field offices he oversees.
FSEEE placed calls this afternoon to national forest offices in each of the Forest Service’s nine regions. None of the employees who answered the phone referred to “OneUSDA.” A call to Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke’s office was answered by a receptionist who said, “Good afternoon, this is the Office of the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. How can I help you?”