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Office of the Ombudsperson

The Office of the Ombudsperson helps female and Hispanic farmers and ranchers (producers) raise new issues and shared concerns about access to the following programs:
  • Farm Service Agency
  • Rural Development Programs
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Ombudsperson helps USDA identify and address issues relating to program access by female and Hispanic producers. The Ombudsperson seeks a fair process for everyone involved. As a first step, the Office will focus initially on the following states for female and Hispanic producers: California, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.

Text: Supporting Equal Access to Key Programs. Photo: Wheat and Tobacco Barn by Carl Wilson, Rural Development.

How can the Office help you?

  • Listen to your concerns as a confidential neutral person with no agenda or bias.
  • Connect you with the right individuals who can answer your questions or address your concerns.
  • Share systemic issues with the USDA managers and senior leaders.
  • Help identify recommendations on shared concerns.

The Office can:

  • Serve as an independent, neutral, confidential and informal resource for female and Hispanic producers.
  • Advocate within the USDA for change where the process and supporting data and information demonstrate such a need.
  • Promote the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques and the early resolution of issues and concerns.
  • Not advocate for individuals, groups or entities or take sides in an issue or advocate for an outcome.

How can you reach the Ombudsperson?

If you are a female and Hispanic farmer or rancher and you are not sure how or where to raise an issue or concern about USDA programs or want to talk with someone confidentially, you may reach out to the Ombudsperson:

Joanne Dea, 202.205-1000
(Please note that discussions via email are not secure and confidentiality cannot be assured.)