Acting Secretary of Agriculture Visits Workers Impacted By Louisiana Tornado and Tours Storm Damage

February 16, 2017

Washington, DC - - (February 15, 2017) - - Acting Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mike Young visited the displaced workers of the USDA Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) National Finance Center (NFC) Monday after an EF-3 tornado hit the New Orleans-based NFC building last week, causing severe damage. No one was seriously hurt as a result of the storm, which struck at approximately 11:20 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

Following the tornado, the NFC immediately implemented its Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) and within 12 hours advance teams were relocated to the alternate work site (AWS) in Bossier City, near Shreveport, La., to begin the resumption of business operations. The tornado struck NFC in the beginning of a pay week and NFC was able to ensure the safety of all employees, recover from the tornado, deploy staff to the AWS site in Bossier City, and still make timely payroll deposits to all employees they service.

"I wanted to say thank you," said Young addressing a crowd of NFC employees. He stressed the work they do is incredibly important, and commended them for their ability to execute their COOP in an instant and still deliver on providing the vital services without interruption. Young, along with the USDA Acting Chief Finical Officer Lynn Moaney, met with employees to express his gratitude and admiration for their hard work and personal sacrifice that kept the NFC running.

Around 1,300 employees work at the OCFO New Orleans site. The NFC processes payroll for more than 650,000 Federal employees across 172 agencies, the reconciliation of health insurance premiums for the entire federal workforce, and retiree benefits that are submitted to the Office of Personnel Management. The OCFO New Orleans Financial Management Services (FMS) provides payment to all USDA vendors, performs all financial management functions for the USDA, and distributes block grants to States.

Young and Moaney then left the Bossier City facility to tour the damage of the NFC located at Building 350 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Photos of the NFC damage can be viewed at

The Bossier City facility is about 350 miles north of New Orleans and can support up to 500 employees. It was specifically designed to serve as an alternative USDA work site for emergency operations. Currently, there are about 182 employees deployed to Bossier City, while approximately 300 others are teleworking. NFC leadership is working to find another facility closer to New Orleans to get the rest of the employees back to work as quickly as possible.

"Our first priority, now that we know everyone is safe and we have our business operations running, is getting back to New Orleans," said Calvin Turner, Director of the NFC.

Turner added that he knows there can be a lot of anxiety the longer workers are deployed and others are displaced. He said that supervisors are on daily conference calls to ensure all employees receive accurate and timely information.

"It was an incredible response on everyone's part at the National Finance Center," said Young. "They had a good plan that they tested a number of times, and they executed it flawlessly. The idea that they were able to have the whole operation up and running in less than a day is unbelievable."

The NFC is a Shared Service Provider for Financial Management Services and Human Resources Management Services. For more information about the NFC, please go to

Information source: U.S. Department of Agriculture