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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
©1997 Committee for
Sustainable Farm Publishing
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