A sudden hush fell over the USDA.
The US Department of Agriculture imposed a ban on their taxpayer-funded agency arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), from publicly sharing their work and other updates through social media. The memo was sent on Monday, just days after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president.
All communications regarding scientific research to USDA branded tweets are to be ceased according to the email that was sent by the ARS chief of staff, Sharon Drumm.
The email was obtained and later shared by Buzzfeed.
Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.
The USDA aren't the only ones silenced under the new administration.
The Trump administration has frozen all grants and contracts at the Environmental Protection Agency, and imposed a ban on employees from sharing such news and updates via social media.
The sudden, indefinite holding pattern could threaten current task orders involving toxic water cleanups to water quality tests, as well as impacting EPA's budget allocations.
According to Propublica, one EPA employee said he's only seen hiring freezes, but freezes on grants and contracts "seemed extraordinary."
But Myron Bell, who's responsible for the EPA transition to accommodate the new administration, said that the freeze was not unprecedented.
They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first.
A similar order was given on the day of Trump's inauguration. The Department of the Interior was told to stop tweeting from its accounts after the National Park Service retweeted a side by side photo comparing Barack Obama and Donald Trump's inauguration crowd levels at the National Mall.
While Trump's pick for secretary of Agriculture, former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, is awaiting confirmation, all agencies and employees working for the USDA are under strict regulation to keep mum and refrain from communicating with the press as the transition from Obama's administration takes place.
The only exception an employee can speak with the press is if permission is given from the approval of the agency head, the Office of the General Counsel sub-cabinet office, and the Office of Budget and Program Analysis.
With all the shushing going on, there will undoubtedly be a lot of noise made in the landscape of our "great" America.