In February 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a first-ever Commission on Equity to analyze how USDA programs, practices, and policies can be improved to lower barriers to inclusion and access. The commission will also work to address discrimination and perpetuation of disparities among farmers who might benefit from USDA assistance. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Redding is one of 15 members of the subcommittee on agriculture and rural economic development appointed to this prestigious group, and has had a front-row seat in the discussions to make changes and improvements. The diversity and quality of committee members is also remarkable, and looks nothing like any other previous USDA committees.
While the committee has only been operating for six months, recommendations are already forming, and USDA administrators are already taking actions to encourage access, equity, and a fairer playing field through executive action and through the courts.
We will ask Secretary Redding for an update on the inner-workings of the committee. He’ll also share his personal philosophy on the importance of diversity and inclusion and discuss his approach to growing equity here in Pennsylvania. Then he wants to hear from you! Share your own challenges, thoughts, and policy changes related to growing a more equitable farming future.