USDA Town Hall Meeting in Athens, Georgia

Cassandra Johnson Gaither (left), U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Project Leader, and Gregory Parham (right), USDA Assistant Secretary for Administration.

On April 15, the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture organized a local town hall meeting in Athens, Georgia, to discuss key issues facing the USDA and to improve employee engagement. The meeting included agencies in Athens and other stakeholders across the state.

The meeting took place at the Russell Research Center in Athens. The key speaker was Dr. Gregory Parham, USDA Assistant Secretary for Administration. He outlined key points in the USDA’s Strategic Plan such as improving employee engagement and developing a 21st century workforce. Representatives spoke on behalf of seven USDA agencies.

Dr. Cassandra Johnson Gaither, project leader for the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Integrating Human and Natural Systems unit, provided an overview of Forest Service activities within SRS. Her remarks were well received and she was invited to participate in a special session where Dr. Parham met with leaders who work on the ground. “It was a great opportunity to meet other members of the USDA family located in Athens; it was refreshing to see a representative from the Secretary’s Office translate the vision in the strategic plan to local employees,” shares Johnson Gaither.

For more information, email Viniece Jennings at

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