The interim report detailed 32 recommendations to advance “equity.”
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an interim report with 32 recommendations to increase equitable practices across the department and farming practices.
- The purpose of the recommendations is to “reduce disparities and advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities,” according to the USDA website.
- Recommendations include actions related to: “How USDA Works with Farmers, Ranchers, and Producers Day-to-Day; USDA’s Need for Department-Wide Change; USDA’s Commitment to Farmworkers and Their Families; USDA’s Research and Extension Programs; and USDA Nutrition Programs,” reads the website.
- The report addresses reported racial inequalities in agriculture, reviewing complaints that “discrimination, bias, or unfairness has played a significant role in limiting their access to services and benefits.”
- Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh and United Farm Workers President Emeritus Arturo Rodriguez lead the USDA Equity Commission, a move from a Biden executive order demanding federal organizations promote racial equity.
- “We didn’t want this set of interim recommendations to look like things we’ve seen in previous reports,” said Bronaugh, describing the report. “We wanted to get at systemic change.”
RESPONSE TO THE REPORT:
- USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote a letter in response to the interim report, stating, “Our commitment to equity is about creating an agricultural economy, a rural economy, and an American economy that create opportunity for all.”
- “While this is a subset of many bold actions that we will seek to implement, they establish the foundation upon which USDA will build a more just and equitable farm and food system,” Vilsack added. “USDA will institutionalize these strategies to become an organization that is trusted today and by future generations.”
- “Equity is now at the core of what USDA does; institutionalizing diversity and equity is a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration,” the response continued.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) is also making efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
- The Justice Department is to spend $57 million on reforms pushing “racial equity” that will require a “collective commitment” from employees on all levels.
- Equity efforts recognize “the dignity and humanity of everyone,” according to Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.