Dr. Duncan M. Chembezi, director of Alabama A&M University’s Small Farms Research Center, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in July Chembezi’s appointment as one of 15 members to serve on the national committee. The newly appointed members serve terms of up to two years through 2022.
“USDA is excited to announce new members of the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee,” said Secretary Perdue. “This diverse committee of talented farmers will play an important role in advising the USDA on challenges and opportunities that minority farmers in the U. S. may face.”
Chembezi joined Alabama A&M in 1995. As the university’s Small Farm Research Center director, he assists minority and limited resource farmers with educational and technical assistance to help them obtain access to markets, land, capital and opportunities in the farm industry.
“Having worked with small farmers for a long time, it is an honor to serve on the committee,” Chembezi said. “The appointment reflects the agricultural sector’s confidence in me and others like me to carry out the secretary’s vision and USDA’s vision for minority farmers.”
Other appointees include
Harvey Reed, Louisiana; Cary M. Junior, Michigan; Carolyn Jones, Mississippi; Kimberly Ratcliff, Texas; Arnetta Cotton, Oklahoma; Antonio Harris, Louisiana; Delmar Stamps, Mississippi; Michelle Costa Cruz, Connecticut; Dewayne Goldmon, Arkansas; William Miller, Ohio; Lois Kim, Texas; Ivan H. Howard, Florida; Dr. Elsa Selina Sanchez, Pennsylvania; and Claud D. Evans, D.V.M., Oklahoma
The committee has 15 members, including representatives for socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, nonprofit organizations, civil rights organizations or professions, and institutions of higher education.
Congress authorized the committee in 2008, and since its inception, it has served to advise the secretary and USDA on the implementation of the section 2501 Program of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990; methods of maximizing the participation of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in USDA programs; and civil rights activities within USDA.
The committee is managed by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the U.S. and connects those communities to the education, tools and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives.