Message from the Secretary: I've missed seeing you

Video transcript:

Hello USDA Employees, and if I can take this off for a little while, you may be able to hear me a little bit better. 

I look forward to seeing you all soon. Obviously, in different parts of the country we are all in different phases of reopening, but here we are beginning to enter phase two shortly, and we want to welcome you those of you who will be coming back into the office. But I just need to tell you, I am just blown away by how we have continued to fulfill our mission of “Doing Right and Feeding Everyone” during these unprecedented times.

I want to compliment our Food Production and Conservation area for rolling out a program of CFAP, which is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. For FNS, over our Farmers to Families Food Box, as well as, AMS and what Bruce Summers and his team have done there have been amazing. We are all across the country handing our food boxes. It was really a win-win-win situation. And this was all done really, essentially remotely during these periods of time when this creative team in USDA, after President Trump said, “look Sonny, we need a quick plan to make sure we can preserve the harvest, and we can put these distributors back to work, and we can feed the people that need it.” And that’s been a real thrill and just inspirational as we go to these charitable organizations where food boxes are being given out all because dedicated employees at USDA were thoughtful, innovative, and creative in how to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.” 

So, I look forward to seeing all of you. I want you to know while many of you may have different feelings of either excitement or anxiety about coming back to work, we want all of you to feel comfortable there because we are a great team, and we are a great team together when we’re here. So, we’ll have face masks here - maybe not this fancy - but we’ll have face coverings for everybody coming back, hand sanitizer, cleaning extra, all those kinds of things to make you feel comfortable coming back into a safe environment. 

So, I just want to tell you again—we’ve missed you, and while I’ve been here at USDA because I was pretty much isolated for a while, we’ve got our leadership team back here meeting here together, as well as remotely now, in policy issues that make a difference. 

But once again, I’m proud to be a team member with you at USDA in doing right and feeding everyone but particularly those people who were not able to work remotely, our food safety inspection officers on the front lines keeping the food chain viable through the whole time. Imagine if we didn’t have food and meat in the meat cases. These are the people that made it happen, and I want to thank them. 

I want to thank the people who’ve gone and met our customers face-to-face in our offices around the country. Our NRCS officers who have gone out and continue to do their work. So, for those of you that have been home, we want to welcome you back. For those who’ve been here and continued to be part of that, I want to thank you for what you’ve done. 

It’s great to be part of USDA, and I look forward to seeing you again. God Bless. Stay Safe.