Statement from USDA Spokesperson on Conference Spending in a Letter from Senator Coburn:
Washington, March 7, 2013 – USDA today released the following statement on conference spending highlighted in a letter from Senator Coburn:
"USDA does not provide financial support for the Priester Health Extension Conference and we have asked the organizers to remove our logo from the website.
Farmers attending the California Small Farm Conference are paying for the wine tasting themselves - this is not a conference for USDA employees.
While employee conferences have decreased significantly in recent years, farmers, ranchers and other constituents benefit from many conferences and forums because they provided access to experts, new research and other practices to strengthen the rural economy.
Importantly, USDA has aggressively managed travel, conference and administrative costs to achieve $700 million in new efficiencies, savings, and cost avoidances during the last three fiscal years."
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).