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Advancing Equity

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Equity Commission: Shaping Change at USDA

At USDA, we acknowledge we have not done enough to provide all farmers and ranchers an equal chance of success and prosperity. We are committed to changing that, actively working to build a USDA that ensures none of our customers are ignored or left behind.

Farmer and his cattle


About the Equity Commission

This 15-member independent commission is charged with evaluating USDA programs and services and will recommend how we can reduce barriers for accessing them. Using this information, USDA will make needed changes so that our programs, services and decisions reflect the values of equity and inclusion. This will ensure everyone has a fair shot at resources, begin closing the racial wealth gap and addressing longstanding inequities in agriculture.

The work of the Equity Commission will empower USDA to objectively confront the hard reality of past discrimination and its lingering harm; helping USDA build back better, and serve our customers more fairly and equitably.

BackgroundCommittee Members




USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Bronaugh

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

Arturo S. Rodriguez

Arturo S. Rodríguez
United Farm Workers President Emeritus

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We are excited and humbled to serve as the Co-Chairs for the Equity Commission at the United States Department of Agriculture. This Commission has the imperative task of providing recommendations to the Secretary on policies, programs, and actions needed to address racial equity issues within the Department of Agriculture and its programs, including strengthening accountability at USDA. In short, this Commission is charged with advancing equity at a time when it is clearly needed and long overdue.

We are honored to lead this extraordinary group of talented individuals from all walks of life who have agreed to serve on the Equity Commission and its Agriculture Subcommittee. These individuals encompass the very essence of public service.

We are committed to implementing the President’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government to help the Biden-Harris Administration address equity across the whole of the Federal government.

We are grateful for the trust Secretary Vilsack has put in us and we look forward to working independently with the full commission and subcommittees to provide USDA with actionable recommendations to fulfill the promise of being the people’s Department  and help ensure that everyone receives the fair chance to reach their full potential.

In gratitude and service,

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, USDA Deputy Secretary and Arturo S. Rodríguez, United Farm Workers President Emeritus

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Equity Commission Meetings

The Equity Commission will meet up to four times each year, either virtually or face-to-face. All Equity Commission meetings are open to the public.

May 10-11, 2022

The second public meeting of the Equity Commission (EC or Commission) and its Agriculture Subcommittee was held May 10 - 11, 2022. It was a hybrid meeting conducted in person and via Zoom.

Agenda (PDF, 141 KB)

Federal Register Notice

February 28, 2022

The inaugural meeting of the Equity Commission (EC or Commission) and its Agriculture Subcommittee was held virtually on February 28, 2022. Members of the public who registered by February 21st had the opportunity to sign up to provide oral comments during the meeting. Members of the public were also invited to submit written comments in their registration form and via email to The public comment period was open until March 15, 2022. All meeting materials, including public comments, are posted below.

Meeting Agenda (PDF, 65.9 KB)

Meeting Slides (PDF, 858 KB)

Meeting Minutes (PDF, 543 KB)

Written Comments (PDF, 26.7 MB)

Zoom Chat Comments (PDF, 1.5 MB)


Meeting Recording





Media Inquiries


US Congresswoman Terri Sewell, points to construction activity during U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh's, center, visits of the Medical West Hospital construction site with USDA Rural Development RD Undersecretary Xochitl Torres Small, left, and from right rear Medical West Chief Executive Officer Keith Pennington, RD State Director of Alabama Nivory Gordon, and Brasfield and Gorrie, L.L.C. officials, on January 26, 2022.