WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the realignment of many key offices within the department yesterday. These changes build on the reorganization that was announced in May and are designed to improve customer service and maximize efficiency.
In May, the USDA created an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs (TFAA). Recent advances in international trade underscore the importance of this position. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) that supports USA Rice’s international marketing programs is also housed here. USDA announced that the U.S. Codex Office, currently housed in the Food Safety and Inspection Service, will be housed under the TFAA mission area.
Also in May, a position was created for an Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development and yesterday it was announced an Innovation Center will be created within Rural Development. This Innovation Center will evaluate the impacts of the business, housing, and utilities programs provided by the USDA.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) were combined under a central Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation in May. The International Food Commodity Procurement Program currently in FSA will merge into the Commodity Food Procurement program in the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will also merge into AMS. This new program area will also carry out the Warehouse Act functions.
The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) will also merge into the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). CNPP will now be headed by a career associate administrator.
Also, the USDA will be creating an Office of Partnership and Public Engagement by grouping together the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships staff, the Office of Tribal Relations, and the Military Veterans Liaison.
Finally, the new alignment will move the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) from the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) to the Office of the Chief Economist.
“This reorganization has been a long time coming and is quite welcome,” said USA Rice Chairman Brian King. “It shows that this agency is well-aligned with our priorities and I expect our already great working relationship will only improve as we look to help our industry with strong and growing foreign markets and domestic policies and programs that ensure our farmers can continue to feed their families and families around the world in a safe and sustainable manner.”