Inspector General reports on USDA’s oversight of civil rights complaints

USDA’s Inspector General says that there should be federal benchmarks for investigating civil rights complaints.

Lawmakers say that there have been long-standing issues of discrimination within USDA, and the process, or lack thereof, undermines the ability to resolve complaints in a timely manner.

At a House Ag hearing Tuesday, the Inspector General said that complaints are investigated by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, but that office was reorganized under the Trump administration, with serious cuts to funding.

According to Inspector General Phyllis Fang, “There is no federal regulation that sets out an appropriate time frame for program complaints, the Justice Department just says you have to do it in a prompt way... Our recommendation to OASCR is that they should figure out, do an assessment, perhaps do some benchmarking, think about what an appropriate time frame might be, and then be very clear on communicating that to the public as well as to their own people.”

She also said that the report also shows her office has their work cut out for them in righting the ship.

Related:

National Black Farmers Association responds to discrimination lawsuit

Texas Ag Commissioner files lawsuit against USDA over racial discrimination

Congress has a new plan for debt relief for farmers with limited resources

USDA faces uphill battle in making its promise to socially disadvantaged farmers






Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join Host and Market Day Report Anchor Christina Loren as she interviews members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.