Ground Truth: Dispatch

Perdue: Let’s Stop Calling the Forest Service “the Forest Service”

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?”


14 comments on this post

  1. Patrick O’Bannon says:

    I’m a retired USDA forest service employee. I worked for the ageny in excess of 33 years. I’m proud of my Forest Service career in serving the people of these United States. I understand that Secretary Perdue desires to pull the broad mix of agencies under one banner into one team. Unfortunately each USDA agency has a unique mission. Most of the public that does business with USDA does it with one of these agencies and recognizes it by it’s name. Drop the agency name and I see confusion with new and current users of USDA services. USDA is large but it’s divisions of services are recognizable to the public that it serves. Please don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

  2. Larry Lange says:

    where do they get these idiots!!!!!…..put this jerk on a good hotshot crew for a couple of seasons in region 5 and he’ll have more respect and appreciation for the fs.

  3. John Bowser says:

    Boy do I agree with Larry Lange. Spent almost 35 year with “The US Forest Service.” and loved every moment being a part of this grand organization. All these years in Aviation and Fire Management, serving on a Ranger District through the RO levels in R-5 and R-10. Yes at times referred to the FS as USDA Forest Service, but mostly referred to working for The Forest Service. With all respect to Mr. Perdue, Leave the name of “The USFS” alone. Or just maybe, join the other resource agencies together into a Cabinet Position encapsulating all. Ie, FS, NPS FWS , NWS etc. What about a Natural Resource Agency. Managed by a person who just might be interested in agencies which actually love the natural Resources God created and entrusted to us mere mortals. Where is Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot when we need them?

  4. Richard Chase (40 year FS career) says:

    The FOREST SERVICE mission of managing the NATIONAL FORESTS has only a peripheral (at best) relationship to the functions of the other agencies within the USDA, and to devalue the FOREST SERVICE by stripping it of its identity not only serves no useful purpose, but rather imposes a negative one. The agency’s placement in the USDA, while perhaps having some miniscule logic to begin with, has evolved into a complete anomaly. Better it be transferred to Interior than emasculated as the Secretary, for no logical purpose, is apparently bent on accomplishing.

  5. John Bowser says:

    Spent many years with “The US Forest Service”, loving every moment working for this grand organization. All in Aviation and Fire Management in R-5 and 10. At times referred to the agency as “USDA, Forest Service”, but mostly as “The Forest Service”. With due respect to Mr. Perdue, Please leave the name alone. How about joining all the natural resource agencies into one department? Call it maybe the Department of Natural Resources. Encapsulate the USFS, NPS, BLM, NWS, FWS, NWS, etc; while maintaining these various agencies their unique identities. Where is Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot when we need them?

  6. John Bowser says:

    Spent many years working for “The US Forest Service”. All in A&FM, in R-5 and 10. At times referred to the agency as “USDA, Forest Service”, but mostly as “The Forest Service”. With all due respect to Mr. Perdue, please leave the name alone. How about encapsulating all the resource agencies into one department while preserving their unique identities? USFS, NPS, BLM, NWS, FWS, etc. Call it the Department of Natural Resources. Where is Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot when we need them?

  7. Robert E Lease says:

    Unless it has been changed since my retirement 24 years ago, Forest Service appropriations are included in the Interior and Insular Affairs budget, not USDA budget; so I don’t think this suggestion has any merit. Just as we are told to eat the elephant one bite at a time, each agency has its own part of the mission to make America great again, and deserves to have a name that recognizes their mission. Mass confusion will result otherwise.

  8. James A. Hunt says:

    Leadership who have never been part of the wonderful US Forest Service should never be allowed to make any decisions regarding such.

  9. Jack Durham says:

    Using your logic, Wildlife Services will be with USF&WS (as it should be) – bet that doesn’t fit your real agenda.

  10. Paul Head says:

    As Secretary of Agriculture, your legacy should be the positive impact that you make upon the people and the mission of your agency, not in your misguided attempt to leave your mark be “rebranding.” OneUSDA sounds like a marketing ploy to please a corporate driven administration.

  11. Sharon says:

    I think it’s because the current administration has other motivations regarding the use of our public lands. If it’s all in one box it all gets treated the same—one set of governing rules. Follow the money forward and see what corporations benefit. Also, I would expect many of the district offices will likely get squashed in the process and it will be left to corporate management/greed. I didn’t vote for this? Did you?

  12. Leon Blashock says:

    I am a retired FOREST SERVICE employee serving in Region 9 my entire career. I don’t see one iota of merit to this proposal by the secretary. All this will do is create confusion for the public by all the agencies affected and demoralize employees who are nothing less than hard working, dedicated and professional. Keeping the current identity reinforces the mission of this agency; not “watering” it down as suggested. I sincerely this proposal ends up right where it belongs…in the trash.

  13. Becky Bonar, former USFS employee says:

    OneUSDA is an address, not an agency. Considering the current difficulty people have discriminating between the Forest Service and the Park Service, I cannot imagine how they’re ever going to figure out whether they are contacting the Forest Service or some other agricultural entity.
    The Forest Service exists to serve the people who use the National Forests, it is not a high-rise commercial building (although, I’m sure there are lots of people in Washington DC now who don’t know the difference).

  14. Dick Hill says:

    It isn’t Sonny Perdue, it’s OnePerdue. You have to forgive the guy. He’s a hippy from the rebellious years, and he is still living it. Don’t call him Sonny. He is OnePerdue.
    He probably never named his kids. They are all OnePerdue. His wife is also OnePerdue.
    Call me OneHill. Dick Hill, R9, HMNF.

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