USDA modernization picks up momentum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ramping up one of its major computer

modernization programs, which will enable it to deliver centralized services

to farmers nationwide.

On Nov. 9, the department awarded a $27.7 million contract to

to provide 2,700 IBM Corp. Netfinity network servers and associated software.

The servers will tie together the thousands of workstations located

in the department's county-based service centers and provide those employees

with business-quality e-mail, security tools, and the ability to manage

the workstations and network from a central location.

The servers are part of the department's Common Computing Environment

program that will field a common set of desktop computers, applications

and other technologies to the service centers. These service centers will

provide farmers with one-stop shopping for services such as farm loan applications,

instead of making them visit three agencies for assistance.

The servers are the first piece of shared equipment the service centers

have had, said Bill Gardner, senior policy adviser for CCE at the USDA.

"This is the linchpin that really brings it all together."

During the past several years, the department has upgraded its telecommunications,

networking systems and other infrastructure.

CCE is a critical component of the USDA's Service Center Modernization

Initiative, which will provide a single, integrated and modern technology

system for county-based agencies. USDA wants a fully operational system

in 2002.

Meanwhile, this fiscal year should continue to be busy for the department.

Plans in the works include the purchase of additional workstations, support

services, training and security services for the CCE program.

The USDA is also rewriting about 8 million lines of legacy Cobol software

code into modern code to run on other platforms, such as Java, and is putting

the finishing touches on an integrated information technology framework.


  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.