The USDA should absolutely not be able to withhold research funded with our tax dollars. I realize there may be circumstances when releasing certain information could cause mass panic etc, and in those cases, it should be managed, but not withheld. I can't think of any situation where the public shouldn't have a right to know.
In a world where facts have become optional when making critical decisions, having public access to to verifiable data is crucial. That the research is publicly funded makes it even more imperative to give unfettered access to the raw numbers on which decisions are being based. We can't allow narrow-minded individuals decide what facts are.
All information should available to public especially this research was funded with tax money from the US public. There is no reason why any of this information should be kept away unless there are things that USDA doesn't want the people to know. And if that's the case, then the country is in more trouble than we thought.
If the USDA loses the trust of the people by hiding or otherwise concealing information that was funded, in any way by the taxpayers, the agency should cease to exist because nothing it can do or say will carry any meaning or trust with the public. Once an organization such as the USDA loses the trust of the people, it becomes irrelevant and wasteful and must be replaced.