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Advisory Committee on Minority Farms

The committee works in the interest of the public to ensure socially disadvantaged farmers have equal access to USDA programs. The committee shall advise the Secretary on:

  1. The implementation of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279);
  2. Methods of maximizing the participation of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in USDA programs; and
  3. Civil rights activities within USDA, as such activities relate to participants in USDA programs.

Members of the committee are appointed for 2 year terms by the Secretary. The committee members are composed of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, representatives from nonprofit organizations, civil rights professionals, and representatives from institutions of higher learning.

The following individuals have been appointed to serve on the committee through June 2017:

  • Chair, Ms. Paula Garcia, Executive Director, New Mexico Acequia Association from New Mexico
  • Vice Chair, Mr. Randall S. Ware, Chairman, Indian Country Agriculture and Resource Development Corporation from Oklahoma
  • Mr. Alfonzo Abeyta, Owner, Sr., Owner, A quarter circle lazy 5 Ranch LLC from Colorado
  • Mr. Terry A. Cannon, Farm Manager, Piney Woods School from Mississippi
  • Ms. Jennie Crittendon, Committee Affiliate, FSA from Michigan
  • Dr. Claud D. Evans, Owner, Okfuskee County Veterinary Clinic from Oklahoma
  • Dr. Dewayne L. Goldmon, Outreach Lead for Monsanto Company and Advisor to the National Black Growers Council from Arkansas
  • Mr. Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero, President, Saipan Farm and Garden from Saipan, Northern Marianas
  • Mr. William R. Miller, Jr., Vice President, Ohio Farmers Union from Ohio
  • Mr. Igalious “Ike” Mills State Legislative Liaison for Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers/CBO from Texas
  • Mr. Frederick Newhouse Owner, Newhouse Land and Cattle from Texas
  • Mr. Harvey Reed, President/CEO, Louisiana Association of Cooperatives from Louisiana
  • Mr. Renard F. Turner, Virginia State University College of Agriculture Advisory Committee
  • Mr. Charles Linwood Whitaker, Sr., President/CEO, Whitaker Small Farm Group, Inc. from North Carolina
  • Mr. John Zippert, Director of Program Operations, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund Rural Training and Research Center from Alabama

Committee Recommendations

  • 2015 (MFAC FINAL Signed Ltr on Litigation 10.7.15)
  • 2015 (MFAC Letter to Vilsack SIGNED FINAL June 2016)
  • 2015 (MFAC Recommendation on Full Funding for OAO & 2501)
  • 2011 (Committee Recommendations)

Public Committee Meetings

Minority Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee will be hosting a public meeting to deliberate on recommendations for USDA Secretarial consideration. These recommendations will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on methods to maximize minority participation in USDA's programs and services.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST; and Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST; and Thursday, May 12, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CST. The meeting will be open to the public. All persons wishing to make comments during this meeting must check-in between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. CST each day at the registration table. All public commenters will be allowed a maximum of five minutes. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than what can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public meeting timeframe, speakers will be scheduled on a first-come basis. Public written comments for the committee's consideration may be submitted to Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA OAO, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 520-A, Washington, D.C. 20250-0170, Phone (202) 720-6350, Fax (202) 720-7704, or email to: Email: A listen-only line will be available during the entire meeting for all who wish to listen to the meeting or make public comments through the following telephone number: (888) 455-1685 and enter passcode 4225205.


This public advisory committee meeting will be held at the Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel, 700 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130, (504) 613-2330. There will also be signs directing attendees to the USDA meeting rooms.

To view the Federal Register Notice, please visit: To review the agenda and other meeting materials, please see the links below:

Past Public Committee Meetings

A public advisory committee meeting was held on September 22-24, 2015 from 9am to 5pm each day, at the Embassy Suites Savannah/Historic District in Savannah, GA. The meeting was announced in the Federal Register and included the meeting details and topics for discussion. To review the agenda and other meeting materials, please see below: