Yesterday, the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) convened 30 stakeholders representing minority farmers and farmers of small- or mid-sized operations for an event focused on President Biden’s efforts to ensure all farmers have the tools they need to succeed and thrive, including fair and equitable access to USDA programs and services.

Stephen Benjamin, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and Neera Tanden, White House Domestic Policy Advisor, welcomed participants to the discussion, providing updates on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to uphold civil rights and promote equity, including in agriculture, through implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order On Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack then shared details on USDA’s vision for and concrete progress in promoting equity, supporting family farmers and ranchers, and ensuring that underserved groups and rural communities have access to critical resources.

Over the past three years, under the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA has worked hard to deliver a significant and meaningful list of actions to uphold civil rights, advance equity and ensure the promise of America for all communities across the country.

A roundtable conversation was then moderated by Dr. Dewayne Goldmon, USDA Senior Advisor for Racial Equity. Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency, also took part in the conversation. Topics discussed included, but were not limited to: the barriers small-scale farmers confront when it comes to securing funding for USDA farm and conservation programs, and USDA’s work through to address these barriers in recent years; the need to engage a more diverse group of young people in agriculture and agriculture-related professions; the need to build lasting partnerships and for producers of all types to have a seat at the table; the unique constraints that state- or county-based policies create for Tribal farmers; and an acknowledgement of USDA’s success in diversifying its leadership and Farm Service Agency county committees, which must be followed by diversification of state and local level staff to better reflect the people they serve.

Following the roundtable at the White House, participants continued the conversation at USDA.


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