The Look in Brief

Lookout in Brief: USDA seeks public comment on racial justice and equity in program access

By: - July 7, 2021 5:00 am
Mexican migrant workers in the tomato fields at Henderson Farm, Rhea County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Mexican migrant workers in Rhea County tomato fields. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public input on its record of racial justice, equity and access for underserved communities.

The federal agency oversees a vast amount of programs that include SNAP — commonly referred to as “food stamps,” summer food programs for kids in poverty and loans and subsidies for farmers. The public input process in an initial step to implement President Joe Biden’s January Executive Order, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

The agency is requesting input to identify barriers that people of color and underserved communities and individuals may face in obtaining information from USDA or accessing its services.

The public input form poses sample questions, including:

“Have you experienced injustice, inequity or unfairness in one or more USDA programs? If so, which ones?” and “Have you had difficulty accessing one or more USDA programs?”

Thus far, fewer than 100 people have provided input, many of them critical of the USDA for this undertaking.

The USDA is taking comments until July 15. Comments may be submitted here.



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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.