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How USDA’s cloud integration advances its mission goals

As federal agencies continue migrating more of their IT operations to the cloud, they are also achieving new service capabilities in serving the public. The United States Department of Agriculture is one of several agencies providing more effective services and expanding the way they engage with their constituents and partner agencies.

In a recent Scoop News Group panel, David Peters and Arianne Gallagher-Welcher from USDA and Sunny Kapoor from Amazon Web Service Public Sector each share different ways the USDA has improved how they reach constituents with the help of cloud-enabled applications and improved data sharing.

“The effective deployment of cloud is all about scale and that operationally helps us…deliver value operationally and programmatically,” said Peters, associate CIO at the USDA.

He said the development of a cloud-based application is helping the department communicate with its constituents, citing an example in the meat packing industry. He discussed the Meat Marbling Project (MRP), an application that speeds the process of grading meat using automation. The app is being distributed among meat packing plants of various sizes to bring greater speed and efficiencies to this regulated process.

Gallagher-Welcher, executive director for the USDA’s Digital Service, added a similar example of improving the USDA’s communications with farmers across the nation. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), she explained, enables farmers to voluntarily adopt environmentally sustainable practices and guides them through the process of what it means to be environmentally sustainable in their operations.

She championed the agency’s adoption of cloud tools as a factor in improving its employees’ focus on the customer experience, mission outcomes and operational efficiencies, “both on the front end for our stakeholders in the public, and in the back end for our staff and employees who have to run all these critical systems to make sure that these programs can continue to run smoothly.”

Kapoor, head of Federal Civilian Civic Services with Amazon Web Services Public Sector, echoed the operational efficiencies the USDA has gained by moving more of their services to the cloud and highlighted how they are able to improve data sharing with their federal partners.

“The data produced from supporting such unique mission sets is a vital asset,” he explained, citing how the cloud has grown the USDA’s capacity to scale, store and analyze datasets that it shares with wildfire.gov and the Department of Interior “that brings together applications, tools and services to support federal, state and local agencies for wildfire planning and incident response.”

Learn more about how cloud technologies can transform operations and support mission objectives and here from more leaders on their modernization initiatives.

This video panel discussion was produced by Scoop News Group for FedScoop and underwritten by Amazon Web Services.