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Equity Action Plans

USDA has mobilized Department-wide to remove barriers to access to our programs and services for all Americans, including ensuring USDA resources reach underserved communities and those with the most need. On this page you can find the Department’s first Equity Action Plan, released in April 2022, and 2023 plans for each mission area, showcasing agency progress in improving equity and ongoing commitments and goals.

USDA 2022 Equity Action Plan (PDF, 481 KB)
 

Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC)

Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) is the Department’s focal point for the Nation’s farmers and ranchers and other stewards of private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest lands. FPAC agencies implement programs designed to mitigate the significant risks of farming through crop insurance, conservation programs, farm safety net programs, lending, and disaster programs. FPAC includes four agencies: Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the FPAC Business Center.

Farm Service Agency (FSA)
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The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is committed to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. FSA’s overall equity goal is to ensure agricultural resources and assistance are broadly accessible, while creating new, more, and better market opportunities, so our policies and programs advance agriculture for the “many and most.”

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 2.3 MB)

FPAC Business Center
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With 15 different business lines, the FPAC Business Center addresses equity through its operational support to the other FPAC agencies. This includes providing resources to producers with limited English proficiency and acquisitions with small businesses.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 5.7 MB)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is including institutional equity in our work and practices to ensure that every customer has inclusive access to agency programs and services, and to the tools we provide that help them to succeed. In reducing and eliminating barriers and inequities, NRCS’s unflinching actions will advance equal access to opportunities and resources for underserved communities, embrace diversity and inclusion internally and externally, and ensure an equity-minded, well-trained, and diverse workforce.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Risk Management Agency (RMA)

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The Risk Management Agency (RMA) secures America’s agricultural future by providing effective risk management products and education programs that strengthen the economic stability of producers and communities nationwide. Through a variety of efforts, including cooperative agreements, regional outreach plans, and innovative pilot projects, RMA engages with producers, communities, and stakeholders that have historically lacked access to risk management resources and education, identifying and addressing any obstacles to their participation in crop insurance.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.7 MB)

 

Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS)

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to promoting equity and inclusion through its 16 federal nutrition assistance programs. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
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FNS’s Equity Action Plan describes the agency’s work over the last two years to transform policies, programs, and practices, as well as future actions to promote nutrition security and health equity through USDA nutrition assistance programs to ensure all Americans have access to the nutrition they need.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.3 MB)

 

Food Safety

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) protects the public's health by ensuring that meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome and properly labeled.  Since the issuance of EO 13985 on January 20, 2021, FSIS has initiated a variety of actions to advance equity for those in marginalized and underrepresented communities. In its new Equity Action Plan, FSIS highlights priority actions that the Agency has taken, and plans to undertake, to eliminate and reduce barriers, advance equity, and improve access for FSIS customers.  

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
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FSIS ensures food safety through the authorities of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, as well as humane animal handling through the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 3.1 MB)

 

Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP)

Through its two agencies, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) facilitates domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products, protects U.S. plant and animal health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities.

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
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The mission of AMS is to create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops. AMS helps ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country and around the world. Delivering AMS’s mission to ensure the full suite of benefits, outcomes, and opportunities to participate are made available to all requires changing traditional perspectives, actions, processes, and performance measures. AMS’s Equity Action Plan demonstrates how the agency has been working towards and will continue to build equitable access to programs and opportunities.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 3.7 MB)

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
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We who work at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are driven by a noble mission: to safeguard the health of U.S. agriculture and natural resources from invasive pests and diseases; ensure new technologies get to producers faster, without creating new risks; administer the Animal Welfare Act; and foster coexistence between people and wildlife. With a legacy spanning more than 50 years, our success depends on our hard-working and dedicated employees, as well as our ability to adapt to the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.8 MB)

 

Natural Resources and Environment (NRE)

NRE and its agency, the Forest Service, can succeed only by ensuring that communities most impacted by converging climate, economic, and health crises receive the benefits of our programs and services. Equity is central to the Forest Service mission: "To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."

Forest Service (FS)
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Our first Equity Action Plan was released in 2022, and over the past year, we have shifted how Tribes and underserved communities experience and access Forest Service programs and services, expanding mission delivery This year’s updated plan is organized into three overarching themes: Community Service to All, Economic Stability, and Health and Resilience, which are central to Forest Service cultural transformation.

Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.3 MB)

 

Research, Education and Economics (REE)

The USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area is committed to enhancing equity across all aspects of our work through applying an equity lens when designing our research, programs, trainings, outreach, and partnerships. In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities and the guidance of Secretary Vilsack, REE’s equity action plan outlines our future actions to further our progress in service to the public and numerous stakeholders. It covers all REE’s components: Agricultural Research Service (ARS); Economic Research Service (ERS); National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS); National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); and Office of the Chief Scientist.

Research, Education and Economics (REE)
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Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.7 MB)

 

Rural Development (RD)

As the lead federal agency tasked with advancing rural prosperity, USDA Rural Development has a clear mandate to ensure equity in our programs, policies, and processes. RD created an innovative, transformational model that advances equity, promotes rural prosperity, and leads a whole-of-government approach to serve historically underserved communities.

Rural Development (RD)
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Equity Action Plan (PDF, 2.2 MB)

 

Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA)

Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA) is the Department’s lead on trade policy, with the primary responsibility of ensuring USDA speaks with a unified voice on international agricultural issues domestically and abroad. TFAA continually strives to build a workplace that welcomes and embraces all employees, empowering them to be their authentic selves. To ensure the long-term success of TFAA’s mission, we are committed to serving our stakeholders, both external and internal, and continuing to identify and open opportunities to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion across the agricultural industry and rural America.

Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (TFAA)
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Equity Action Plan (PDF, 452 KB)

 

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR)

OASCR advances equity at USDA by promoting and enforcing civil rights throughout the Department. For each of the four action areas in OASCR’s Equity Action Plan, we are already well started in reviewing our current processes to improve civil rights enforcement and accountability. The actions and goals described are ambitious but achievable, and we are focused on not just planning change but accomplishing it.   

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OASCR)
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Equity Action Plan (PDF, 920 KB)

 

Office of Tribal Relations (OTR)

The Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) is the point of contact at USDA for tribal issues; we work to ensure that relevant programs and policies are efficient, easy to understand, accessible, and developed in consultation with the American Indians and Alaska Native constituents they impact. Consultation is particularly important when it comes to Indian Country because of systemic inequities that have occurred over centuries that still reverberate today. OTR works in collaboration with mission areas and agencies within USDA, other federal agencies, tribal governments, and other tribal stakeholders to promote equity in all facets. This is epitomized through OTR’s three priorities: removing the barriers unique to indigenous and tribal access to USDA programs and services; promoting tribal self-determination throughout USDA; and adapting USDA’s programs to include tribal values and indigenous perspectives.  

Office of Tribal Relations (OTR)
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Equity Action Plan (PDF, 1.6 MB)