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Statements on Departure of Under Secretary Harris Sherman from USDA

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Under Secretary Harris Sherman today made the following statements on Under Secretary Sherman's departure from USDA:

Statement from Under Secretary Harris Sherman

"After four years of having the privilege to work alongside the enormously talented, hard working people at USDA, and especially my colleagues in the United States Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, I am today announcing my upcoming departure from USDA.

We have worked together to accomplish tremendous things in the past four years. With the Forest Service, we developed a new Planning Rule for management of our national forests and grasslands, accelerated restoration of millions of acres of forests and watersheds, and supported traditional forest products and other uses of the national forests. We expanded recreation opportunities and supported thousands of recreation-related jobs, protected Native American sacred sites, and invested in our young people and veterans by giving them jobs and training opportunities. We worked with partners around the country to create new public-private partnerships, fostering an ethic of collaboration. In addition, we protected communities from catastrophic wildfires, supported State and private forest landowners, and conducted critical forest research.

With NRCS, we invested in landscape scale conservation from the Chesapeake Bay to the Everglades to the Bay Delta. We enrolled a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation practices, expanded the application of voluntary certainty and safe harbor agreements with individual landowners, introduced new programs and technology that will support the ability of private landowners to implement conservation practices and protect wildlife, and assisted Gulf Coast states and landowners in addressing water quality impacts to the Gulf of Mexico. We also played a leadership role in responding to natural disasters from Hurricane Sandy to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish. I thank the President and Secretary Vilsack for their leadership and for having given me the opportunity to serve my country in this role. While this has been a very difficult decision for me, I believe it is a good time to transition to new leadership and I have every confidence that my successor will continue to achieve the results that I've witnessed from NRCS and the Forest Service over these past years."

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack

Over the past four years, Under Secretary Harris Sherman has led a comprehensive push to enhance and modernize the ways in which we conserve our forests and protect our natural resources. Under his leadership, USDA carried out a record level of conservation work alongside farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. He led the way to a modernized forest planning policy that recognizes the multiple uses of our forests, and will lead to more resilient forests and greater rural economic opportunity. Harris helped target our conservation efforts in priority areas, and forged new partnerships that have strengthened a collaborative approach to landscape conservation and forest restoration. As a result, even in a time of tighter budgets, USDA is in a position to continue achieving positive results in conservation for decades to come. I appreciate his service to our nation, and I wish Harris Sherman all the best in the future.


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