Ms. Carolyn Parker serves as the first Director of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). The Office of Advocacy and Outreach was established by the 2008 Farm Bill to improve access to USDA programs and to improve the viability and profitability of small farms and ranches; beginning farmers and ranchers; and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. The OAO is tasked with the responsibility to develop and implement plans to coordinate outreach activities and services provided by the Department through working collaboratively with the field base agencies, and continually assessing the effectiveness of its outreach programs. Congress added Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program in the 2014 Farm Bill.
Ms. Parker has served in various leadership capacities at the USDA. As a County Supervisor, Ms. Parker served for the Farmers Home Administration in rural New Jersey where she administered Single Family Housing and Farm Programs. She served in the Community Facilities Loan Programs as the Director of the Business and Industry Program for more than 15 years. Prior to joining the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, she served as the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Business Programs in Rural Development. She has worked for USDA for approximately 35 years. The programs administered involved individuals, corporations, and other business entities, Financial Institutions, non-profit and community based organizations, as well as Local, State, and Federal partners.
Ms. Parker is no stranger to outreach as she has worked and performed outreach activities throughout her career. In the late nineties she supported the Civil Rights Action Team and was an active member of the Civil Rights Implementation Team, working to provide equal access to USDA's many programs and services.
Ms. Parker is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and currently resides in the State of Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.