USDA hosts first national equity summit, embraces change

USAgNet - 02/23/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently celebrated a significant milestone with the hosting of its first-ever National Equity Summit. This event highlighted the department's ongoing efforts under the Biden-Harris Administration to foster a more inclusive and accessible environment across its numerous programs and services.

The Equity Commission, an independent body with diverse expertise, presented their Final Report, offering a roadmap for the USDA to further embed equity into its core operations.

Their recommendations span across various domains, aiming to reduce disparities and promote justice and equity for underserved communities. These include improving day-to-day interactions with farmers and ranchers, supporting farmworkers, enhancing nutrition assistance, and boosting rural development and economies.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack underscored the USDA's commitment to rectifying historical inequities and ensuring equal opportunities in every American community. The department has already started implementing some of the Commission's suggestions, striving for an organizational culture that mirrors the values of equity and inclusion.

The USDA's actions are part of a broader initiative to address systemic barriers and create a more equitable agricultural sector. This includes updating the USDA Equity Action Plan, which outlines specific measures to reach underserved communities effectively.

The National Equity Summit is just the beginning. The USDA plans to continue its engagement with stakeholders through regional equity convenings, focusing on priority issues for sustained progress.

In essence, the USDA's efforts to advance equity are a testament to its dedication to serving all Americans, ensuring fair access to its programs, and actively contributing to the eradication of systemic discrimination in agriculture.


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