Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision and legacy by helping others in need. USDA employees from across the country will observe this day through service projects in their communities, working to fulfill Dr. King’s belief that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
As we take a moment to think about MLK’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and his commitment to making this country a better place to live, USDA is reminded of the steps we have taken to correct errors, learn from past mistakes, and to chart a stronger path for the future where all Americans are treated with dignity and respect by USDA employees. Read more »
In April 2009, Secretary Vilsack called for a new era in civil rights and directed the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR) to help lead a comprehensive effort to improve USDA’s record. That meant correcting errors, learning from past mistakes, and charting a stronger path for the future where all Americans are treated with dignity and respect by USDA employees. To make these goals a reality, my staff and employees across USDA have been working extremely hard over the past two and a half years and I am very proud to highlight some of the strides we’ve made.
To begin with, we want to make sure that USDA’s policies, regulations and decisions are inclusive and respect the rights of all the American people. To make sure USDA agencies are in compliance with civil rights regulations and policies, OASCR conducts reviews to determine the civil rights impact of any new policy, action, rule or decision. Since 2009, we have doubled the number of reviews conducted, improved the quality by providing training to folks who conduct them, and worked with agencies within USDA to improve their decision in nearly a third of the cases we reviewed. Read more »
Bruce Nelson, el Administrador de la Farm Service Agency (FSA) del Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos dijo hoy que la FSA ha reducido significativamente el número de quejas de derechos civiles en el año fiscal 2010 al nivel más bajo en la historia de la agencia, mientras que al tiempo aumentó el número de préstamos y la cantidad en dólares vinculados para el año fiscal 2011 a programas dedicados a las minorías y a las mujeres agricultoras.
“Las cifras de préstamos reflejan los importantes avances que hemos logrado en el esfuerzo por servir con igualdad a todos los solicitantes elegibles al apoyo de los programas de la FSA”, dijo Nelson. “Bajo el liderazgo del Presidente Obama y del Secretario Vilsack, la Farm Service Agency se ha comprometido como nunca antes a la diversidad, la inclusión y el rendimiento, para el beneficio de nuestros clientes y nuestros empleados. Read more »
USDA is making an effort to transform the workplace so that all customers are provided the opportunity for success and the numbers show the department is making progress.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that it has significantly reduced the number of civil rights complaints in fiscal year 2010 to the lowest level in the agency’s history, while increasing the number of loans and dollars obligated to programs dedicated to minority and women farmers for fiscal year 2011.
“The loan numbers reflect the significant progress we have made in the effort to equally serve all eligible applicants for FSA program support,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. Read more »
Today marks the end of February, and National African American History Month, which has given us an opportunity to reflect on the value of the contributions made to our great nation by African Americans, and in particular, African American farmers and ranchers. To celebrate here in Washington, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted an event on February 22 celebrating the life and work of African Americans who have made great contributions to the farming community, including the famous scientist, botanist, educator and inventor, George Washington Carver. Today, to round out National African American History Month, the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke to employees about “Civil Rights in the Age of Obama.” Read more »
USDA is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the claims process. A neutral, third party has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of the process, including notifications, to make certain that it is fair and equitable. As we move forward, we’re focused on making sure our programs are more inclusive and accessible than ever to all Americans.
Today is an historic day for USDA. Working with colleagues at the Department of Justice, we launched a program that provides a path to justice for Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000. Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court. Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts. Read more »