June 21, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published a Federal Register Notice requesting public input on its efforts to advance racial justice and equity across the Department. The Notice represents an important step towards implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (EO). The EO, signed January 20, 2021, notes, “By advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.”
“USDA is committed to ensuring equity across the Department and removing barriers to access our programs and services. We are steadfast towards ending discrimination in all its forms wherever it exists,” said Dr. Dewayne Goldmon, Senior Advisor for Racial Equity. “We are continuing to learn from our storied actions, building on what we are hearing from a wide-range and diverse set of stakeholders across the country, and taking swift action to make all USDA programs, benefits, and services equitable, and to address the cumulative effects of systemic racism.”
The information gained through this Notice and public listening sessions will aid in identifying barriers that people of color, underserved communities, and others may face in obtaining information on USDA programs and services, engaging with USDA staff, and accessing, enrolling, and participating in programs and services including USDA grant, loan, and other financial assistance programs.
USDA will use this information to identify opportunities to address systemic inequities and determine ways to best engage external stakeholders and community members to increase participation in USDA programs, services, committees, and decision-making processes. Lastly, USDA will provide this information to the impending Racial Equity Commission it seeks to launch later this year.
The Notice will be available for public input until July 15, 2021, and is available online through the Federal Register.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden- Harris Administration under Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.