The U.S. Department of Agriculture's has announced that its Office of the Ombudsperson will undertake a new initiative to help women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers with accessing the Department's services and programs. According to a press release, the USDA Ombuds "seeks a fair process for everyone involved and helps USDA identify and address issues relating to program access by women and Hispanic producers, ... focused strategically on ... programs in California, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas."
Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "I strongly support this office and its functions in ensuring civil rights at USDA and continuing to improve service delivery to our stakeholders." The office was created as part of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack settlement to serve Native American farmers and ranchers before directing efforts to serve women and Hispanic farmers. The USDA Ombudsperson is Joanne Dea.
Related posts: GAO Urges USDA to Hire Ombuds (2008); Job Posting; Internship; USDA Ombuds Seeks Data Analysts.