AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES NEW USDA OFFICE OF ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH
WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the opening of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). This office was established by the 2008 Farm bill to improve access to USDA programs and enhance the viability and profitability of small farms and ranches, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Interim director, Terry D'Addio, has been appointed and additional staffing announcements will be made in December.
"This Office will help ensure that access is provided to all USDA customers in an equal and fair manner and enable USDA employees to be increasingly responsive to the American people they serve," said Vilsack.
The Office has five key program areas: Small and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers; Farm Worker Coordination; Socially Disadvantaged Farmers; Higher Education Institutions Program; Community Engagement and Accountability.
Secretary Vilsack is working to transform USDA into a more productive and engaged organization. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA has already pioneered a host of new outreach efforts to engage community groups and minority organizations from throughout the country and provide them opportunities to meet with senior USDA officials to discuss potential partnerships and learn more about the department's services.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).