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National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
Minority Farmer/Farmworker Committee Priorities

See the '97 Annual Meeting Overview for details about how NCSA reached consensus on these and other priorities.
  1. Monitor Implementation of Civil Rights Recommendations in the report, Civil Rights at the United States Department of Agriculture (2/97): In February 1997, USDA responded to its first system-wide investigation of discrimination in the department with the release of a report detailing 92 recommendations from the Civil Rights Action Team. For each of these recommendations, a process must be in place to ensure their fulfillment. The Campaign will monitor this process to include the ability to measure compliance, remediate problems, and enforce rules and regulations. In addition, existing civil rights complaints need to be settled and/or remediated.

  2. Funding for The Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers --Sec. 2501 -- Appropriations: Sec. 2501 has allowed USDA to reach producers not previously well-served by USDA programs. In addition to Sec. 2501, the Campaign will work for funding of the following programs: pesticide research and training for farmers and farmworkers; Indian Reservation Extension Program; Increase EQIP funding to minority, limited resource, and Indian nations.

  3. Assure representation of Sustainable Ag. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) on the commission assigned to develop a national policy on small farms: The national policy commission on small farms should be required to include representation from the sustainable agriculture and minority farm communities, such as community based organizations (CBOs) or farmworkers. In addition, its policy focus should include a range of sustainable agriculture issues. The Campaign will work to ensure that specific recommendations in both policy and membership are proposed.

  4. Reform County Committee system: County Committees have a lot of power in distributing USDA program funds. Unfortunately, membership in these committees has not been broad enough to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, leading to disparate access to USDA programs by minority and limited resource farmers. Representative membership must be carefully achieved, and committee members should be made federal employees. The Campaign will advocate to reform the County Committee system.

  5. Farmworker initiative: There are currently many barriers to providing access to farming for farmworkers. These barriers must be removed in conjunction with specific proposals to the USDA Civil Rights Implementation Team. Priority goals are to improve farmworker conditions, and increase funds for pesticide research and training programs. The Campaign will work in as many arenas as possible to move USDA toward achievement of these goals. Interests of minority farmers, Indian producers, and farmworkers are included in the Campaign's work on reauthorization of the research title.

  6. Advocate a USDA Outreach office with goals in all program areas of USDA: One coordinated, centralized USDA office, accountable to the Secretary should be set up to identify specific resources and programs that can be used to develop partnerships with community based organizations in sustainable agriculture, and to establish specific monitoring goals such as a minority and a limited resource farmer registry.
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