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Equity Commission

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is creating an Equity Commission to advise the Secretary of Agriculture and provide USDA with an analysis of how its programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices that contribute to barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, or exacerbate or perpetuate racial, economic, health and social disparities and recommendations for action. A Subcommittee on Agriculture will be formed concurrently and will report back to the Equity Commission and provide recommendations on issues of concern related to agriculture. Subsequent subcommittees will focus on other policy areas, such as rural community and economic development. The Equity Commission will deliver an interim report and provide actionable recommendations no later than 12 months after inception. A final report will be generated within a two-year timeframe.

President Biden signed an Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and committed to creating an Equity Commission as part of his rural agenda and commitment to closing the racial wealth gap and addressing longstanding inequities in agriculture. Section 1006 of the American Rescue Plan directed USDA to create the Equity Commission and provided funds sufficient to ensure the Commission is well staffed and positioned to deliver on its charge.
 

 

To apply for the Equity Commission or the Sub-Committee on Agriculture, view the press release or the Federal Register Notice for more information and application instructions. For questions or additional information, contact equitycommission@usda.gov.

Applications must be typed and at a minimum include the following materials to be officially considered for formal review: 

  • A brief summary, no more than two pages, explaining the nominee’s qualifications to serve on the EC or subcommittee and addressing the membership composition and criteria described in the FRN;
  • A resume providing the nominee’s background, experience, and educational qualifications; 
  • A completed background disclosure form (Form AD-755signed by the nominee

You may submit your application by email to EquityCommission@USDA.gov or mail it to the following address:

Office of the Secretary, Attn: Dewayne L. Goldmon, Ph.D., 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6006-S, Washington, DC 20250.

 

The Equity Commission will be composed of 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture for a two-year term and may be reappointed for up to two additional terms. Members will include:

  • 2 representatives from community-based organizations that represent underserved communities;
  • 2 representatives with expertise in policy design and/or evaluation;
  • 2 representatives with expertise in organizational development, design thinking, and/or change management;
  • 1 representative with expertise in communications/public relations;
  • 1 representative with expertise in civil rights;
  • 1 representative with expertise in organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • 1 economist with knowledge of social policy and economic disparities;
  • 1 historian;
  • 1 legal expert; and
  • 3 such other persons representing a broad spectrum of related interest as the Secretary considers appropriate.

 

The Equity Commission’s Subcommittee on Agriculture will be comprised of 15 members who have expertise in agriculture, federal farm, conservation, and extension programs. Two members of the Subcommittee on Agriculture will be members of the EC. Members will include:

  • 3 farmers or ranchers;
  • 2 university personnel with research and/or extension expertise from minority serving institutions;
  • 2 individuals from community based organizations;
  • 1 individual from the agricultural industry
  • 1 individual with civil rights and equity expertise;
  • 3 individuals selected at the discretion of the Secretary; and
  • 2 members of the EC (as explained above).

 

  • Sep 27, 2021: Equity Commission application period opens
  • Nov 30, 2021: Equity Commission application period closes
  • Dec 2021: Announcement and Launch of the Equity Commission