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Oct 27 -- The nomination application period for the USDA Equity Commission and its Subcommittee on Agriculture is extended to November 30, 2021
FR notice:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/27/2021-23425/solicitation-of-nominations-for-membership-on-the-equity-commission-advisory-committee-and-equity
 
Sept 27 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture solicits nominations by October 27, 2021 for membership on the Equity Commission (EC) and the EC's Subcommittee on Agriculture. The EC will advise the Secretary of Agriculture by facilitating identification of critical USDA programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices that contribute to barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, or exacerbate or perpetuate racial, economic, health and social disparities. Concurrent to creation of the Equity Commission, a Subcommittee on Agriculture will be formed that will be charged with providing recommendations on issues of concern related to agriculture to optimize USDA programs, dismantle structural inequities and systemic discrimination, and promote social justice particularly for historically underserved and diverse communities served by USDA.
 
Section 1006(a)(3) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 directs the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture to create an Equity Commission to advise the Agency in “address[ing] historical discrimination and disparities in the agriculture sector,” which includes “fund[ing] one or more equity commissions to address racial equity issues within USDA and its programs.”  
 
The purpose of the EC is to advise the Secretary of Agriculture by identifying USDA programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices that contribute to barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, or exacerbate or perpetuate racial, economic, health and social disparities.

The scope of duties of the EC is advisory and extends only to the submission of advice and recommendations to the Secretary, which shall be non-binding. The EC will make no determination of fact or policy.

The EC will deliver an interim report focused on characterizing the problems and barriers to accessing USDA programs and services and provide actionable recommendations on reducing these barriers that underserved individuals, organizations, businesses, or communities may face accessing the information, resources, programs, and services USDA offers, no later than 12 months after inception. A final report on the same topic shall be generated within a two-year timeframe.

The EC is expected to begin meeting during the Winter of 2021/2022 and to meet up to four times per year (either virtually or in person, or as deemed necessary by the Secretary of Agriculture). Pursuant to FACA, all EC meetings will be open to the public.

The Subcommittee on Agriculture will be formed concurrently and be focused on providing recommendations on issues of concern related to agriculture.
 
 The EC shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture for a two-year term and may be reappointed for up to two additional terms, and shall include:
2 representatives from community-based organizations that represent underserved communities;
2 representatives with expertise in policy design and/or evaluation;
2 representatives with expertise in organizational development, design thinking, and/or change management;
1 representative with expertise in communications/public relations;
1 representative with expertise in civil rights;
1 representative with expertise in organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion;
1 economist with knowledge of social policy and economic disparities;
1 historian;
1 legal expert; and
3 such other persons representing a broad spectrum of related interests as the Secretary considers appropriate.
 
FR notice inviting nominations: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/27/2021-20840/intent-to-establish-an-equity-commission-and-solicitation-of-nominations-for-membership-on-the

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