FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, Communications Director, National Young Farmers Coalition
firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2022) On September 23, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronough announced USDA’S Strategic Roadmap for Increasing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. The plan aims to transform the USDA into an agency that is truly representative of America’s farmers and rural communities, and that it serves all farmers and constituents across the country.
This road map is made possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, and their efforts to embed and advance racial equity across the federal government with Executive Order 14035. The Order set the strategic priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration; goals are crafted with the explicit intention of deeply integrating DEIA best practices, outcomes, and performance measures permanently into how federal agencies deliver their missions.
“At Young Farmers, we believe that accountability and transparency are essential in our relationship with the USDA. This new generation of farmers is motivated by the opportunity to orient agriculture toward the realization of justice and a world defined by equitable outcomes. This roadmap by USDA is a response to the calls and requests of farmers and food justice advocates for more accountability and action on learnings from the past. By taking these steps and keeping communication and transparency on how they implement these goals, USDA is inviting a cultural transformation that will greatly impact our food system for the better,” said Vanessa García Polanco, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition.
Young Farmers applauds the thought leadership of Secretary Vilsack, the Biden-Harris Administration, and USDA staff on their intentional process, and taking the steps necessary to advance racial equity. We look forward to continuing our work with USDA to assist them as advocates in meeting these goals.
The Coalition calls on USDA leadership to adopt and act upon the recommendations of the USDA Equity Commision. We also call on Congress to build on this work as the 2023 Farm Bill takes shape, and to ensure that the Equity Commission is an institutionalized body and process that is not a project of one Administration, but a new standard in government administration. USDA’s strategic plan is a call to action to invest in programs that advance racial equity and address intersectional issues in agriculture and rural communities. Investments like the ones suggested in the The Justice for Black Farmers Act, and the recommendations in Demand a Farm Bill that Reflects Your Values, are still needed to equip USDA with more resources to serve all farmers and our communities.