The Office of Advocacy and Outreach has opened for business at USDA. 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. Terry D'Addio has been appointed interim director.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is working to transform USDA into a more productive and engaged organization. In making the announcement, he said 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.
The Office has five key program areas: Small and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers; Farm Worker Coordination; Socially Disadvantaged Farmers; Higher Education Institutions Program; and Community Engagement and Accountability.