Reports by BuzzFeed News quoted a USDA email to staff - including about 2000 scientists - at the agency's in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work. This includes but are not limited to news releases, fact sheets, photos, social medial content and news feeds. That said, it has used research money to investigate how to cut down methane, a greenhouse gas that is a major cause of climate change.
Researchers are permitted to publish research in peer-reviewed journals.
Reports about the order, which first arose on BuzzFeed News, sparked widespread complaints on Tuesday about a Trump administration crackdown - particularly in light of similar limits that were placed on communications from the Environmental Protection Agency.
However, research into climate change related themes may be increasingly sensitive under the new Trump administration. However directly speaking to the public and the press about research is a common method of these agencies to distribute information in the past.
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The US Department of Agriculture rescinded an order stopping scientists and other employees at its main research division from publishing documents meant to explain science to the public. But at least two researchers who have in the past worked with ARS say collaboration with the agency is often essential to their work.
A reported media "blackout" at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the early days of President Donald Trump's administration turned out to be an exaggeration of a mistake.
Please contact Director of Communications Chris Bentley with any questions about this guidance. Christopher Bently, a spokesman for the department stated that US Department of Agriculture's ARS values and is committed in maintaining free flow of information between the American public and the scientists as they strive to find solutions for agricultural problems that are affecting America as reported in an article by Across America Patch. Mashable reports that the initial order stood in direct conflict with the USDA's Scientific Integrity Policy, "encouraging, but not requiring, USDA scientists to communicate with the media about their scientific findings".