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Remarks for USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Groundbreaking in Normandy, MO on May 24, 2023 Prepared for Administrator Robin Carnahan

Thank you, Jason. It’s great to be here with you, Undersecretary Esteban, Administrator Kiecker, Mayor Beckmann, and the people of the Normandy community. I’m also glad to see Danielle Spradley from Congresswoman Cori Bush’s team and Morgan Corder from Senator Eric Schmitt’s team here today.

It’s our job at GSA to make government work better for the people and save money doing it.  That’s what my fellow Missourian Harry Truman envisioned when he started GSA in 1949 and that’s still our mission today.

Helping USDA deliver better for the American people is exactly what we’re doing here in Normandy.

You may be surprised to hear this, but GSA owns and manages one of the largest real estate portfolios in the country…over 8000 buildings and 350 million square feet of space. So it’s our responsibility to be good stewards of both federal facilities and taxpayers money.

But we’re also tasked with supporting our partners across government, like USDA, to help them deliver on their missions.

USDA has nearly 100,000 employees and a particularly important mission – 

  • to nourish Americans, 
  • to conserve our natural resources, and 
  • to promote agriculture production and economic opportunity.

All critical needs for ensuring our national, economic and food security as well as well as the health and safety of every American.

We support USDA with building space and facilities all across the country, but GSA supports them in other ways, too.

In the past few years we’ve supported their Specialty Crops Inspection Division with funding for technology investments to modernize food safety and quality inspections for billions of pounds of perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, and other products to ensure food they meet safety standards.

Those investments have paid off…listen to this… in the three years since we started that collaboration, they’ve been able to inspect 4 billion more pounds of produce and over 241 million servings of combat rations for our troops.

Here, at this location, I understand we’ll have folks from the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Those are the teams that help make sure that all of our food is safe to eat… it’s hard to think of a more important mission than that.

We’re committed to supporting those teams and that important work at this new location.  We intend to do that by delivering a safe and comfortable workplace that empowers all the USDA team to do their best work.

When this project is done, USDA will have over 81,000 square feet of state-of-the art office, warehouse, and laboratory space – all designed with the latest technology to meet the challenges of this century.

Two other things I’d like to mention about this project and the project team,

  • first, the laboratory design team is led by women, which is something we’re especially proud of at GSA, and, 
  • second, their design will reflect the Biden Administration’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental impacts, including energy efficient systems and smart building technology that saves taxpayer dollars.

I know the GSA team is proud to be part of this exciting new chapter for USDA here in St. Louis - and I know that people in this community will be able to say to their kids with pride when they drive by,  “This is the place where people help make sure our food is safe to eat."

GSA is glad to be partners in getting that done, starting right here, today.