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Reflections on Civil Rights at USDA

Before I was sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture, I took time to meet with a handful individuals who held the job before I did.  I asked them for advice, and two recent Secretaries mentioned that it was important that I focus on civil rights.  As I soon learned for myself, USDA has an unfortunate and checkered history with regards to civil rights, with a multi-decade history of discrimination against our customers and our employees.

So since becoming Secretary in January 2009, I have made civil rights a priority at USDA, working to turn the page on the Department’s tragic civil rights record.  I pledged that we would correct past errors, learn from mistakes, and take definitive action to ensure that there is no disparity in program benefits based on race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. Read more »

Recovery Act Money Clears Loan Backlog, Helps North Dakota Farmers

Tom Grzadzieleski, Jr., received help from FSA staff, including Farm Loan Manager Linda Werven, to double the size of his operation in Drayton, N.D.

Tom Grzadzieleski, Jr., received help from FSA staff, including Farm Loan Manager Linda Werven, to double the size of his operation in Drayton, N.D.

North Dakota farmers and ranchers have received more than $1.7 million in Recovery Act funding through direct operating loans offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The funding, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), improved FSA’s ability to make loans to farmers and ranchers that are unable to obtain commercial credit from a bank.  Read more »

Breaking the Curve in Statistical Knowledge

Benita Hodge, a statistician with the NASS Michigan Field Office, works with FFA students at a leadership conference in Texas.

Benita Hodge, a statistician with the NASS Michigan Field Office, works with FFA students at a leadership conference in Texas.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

As we begin a new school year, I am proud to announce that the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has again partnered with the National FFA Organization to develop new educational online learning tools that will help promote agricultural and statistical literacy. Read more »