USDA Announces Appointments to Equity Commission Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development

WASHINGTON, August 23, 2022 – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the 12 members of the new Equity Commission Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development (RCED). On April 7, 2022, the USDA announced the call for applications, and applications to join the RCED subcommittee were accepted through May 6, 2022. Section 1006 of the U.S. Bailout directed the USDA to create and fund the Equity Commission, signaling the beginning of the kinds of systemic, structural, and cultural changes essential to promoting equity.

After extensive review of more than 500 applications, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is appointing 12 individuals to serve on the RCED subcommittee of the USDA Equity Commission (EC). Members of the RCED subcommittee include representatives from community organizations, credit institutions, small businesses or cooperatives, tribal entities, and two members of the Equity Commission.

The new members of the RCED sub-committee are:

Hills of Cheryal, Minnesota

David Carrasquillo-Medrano, Puerto Rico

Calvin Allen, North Carolina

Lakota Vogel, South Dakota

Valerie Beel, Nebraska

Latonya Keaton, Ill.

Doug O’Brien, Maryland/Washington, DC

Curtis Wynn, Florida

Terry Rambler, Arizona

Larry Holland, Mississippi

Nils Christoffersen, Oregon

Shonterria Charleston, Georgia

“USDA is committed to ensuring that underserved communities and populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of economic and environmental shocks are prioritized as we address systemic inequalities and rebuild trust,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The diversity of perspectives and expertise of the new members of the RCED Sub-Committee will be essential in ensuring that the Commission’s discussions and recommendations are balanced, insightful and project the desired equity outcomes for all.

“I am very pleased to welcome this new subcommittee of RCED to join the work of the Equity Commission and Subcommittee on Agriculture,” said Undersecretary Jewel Bronaugh, who is co-chair of the Equity Commission. “Overcoming the historical and systemic barrier of persistent poverty experienced by underserved rural communities is a burden I feel personally connected to and believe will have a positive impact on two-thirds of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States.

The RCED Sub-Committee will work with the Equity Commission and its Agriculture Sub-Committee to provide recommendations to the Secretary that specifically address issues and concerns regarding rural development, persistent poverty and underserved communities. . The newly appointed subcommittee members reflect a diversity of demographics, regions of the country, backgrounds, experience and expertise. As part of the application and selection process, the USDA sought members able to share the voices and experiences of farmers, ranchers and agricultural worker groups, people of color, women, tribal communities and Indigenous people, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, rural communities and LGBTQI+ communities.

After being onboarded, members of the RCED Subcommittee will join the Equity Committee and its Agriculture Subcommittee at the committee’s third public meeting on September 21-22, 2022.

If there are issues that should be considered by the Equity Commission and its subcommittees, all stakeholders, including the general public and congressional representatives, are encouraged to submit public comments via email. at [email protected]

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit


The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

About Keneth T. Graves

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