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Nebraska Civil Rights Committee

NRCS works to ensure compliance with Agency policies for conservation and equal opportunity programs, and accountability for the delivery of quality and timely service to our customers. USDA is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.

NRCS-Nebraska supports the policy of USDA to provide equal opportunity for all persons without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

We are fully dedicated to ensuring that all persons associated with NRCS in Maine comply with every aspect of our nation’s Civil Rights laws and policies.  All employees are expected to model equal opportunity, civil rights, and cultural transformation, and managers and supervisors must demonstrate an elevated regard by supporting civil rights, equal employment opportunity, diversity, and cultural transformation.

Civil Rights and EEO

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for any employer to deny anyone a job because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII also prohibited discrimination in firing, promoting, training, salary, and all other privileges of employment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC was given the responsibility to investigate EEO complaints and to attempt to resolve those complaints through conciliation and mediation.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that no person in the United States shall, on the "grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Special Emphasis Programs

Special emphasis activities and support are an integral part of the civil rights program at the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Within their respective programs, special emphasis program managers assist the State Conservationist, to ensure that equal opportunity is present in all aspects of NRCS programs and services. This
includes assisting the State Conservationist to provide leadership to identify under representation and ensure positive actions are being taken to address any such problem areas.

Special emphasis program managers assist the State Conservationist to provide advice and assistance to management officials in order to help them meet civil rights program goals and objectives. They also assist the State Conservationist to ensure effective communications among all persons and areas dealing with, or affected by, agency civil rights responsibilities.

Sharrona Moore, the found of Lawrence Community Gardens, harvests collard greens in the garden's high tunnel on Feb. 2, 2021. The high tunnel was funded in part through the Natural Resources Conservation Services' Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which Moore signed up for in 2018. The EQIP funding will also be used to plant a hedgerow at the garden located in Lawrence, Indiana. (Indiana NRCS photo by Brandon O'Connor)

Historically Underserved Communities

Some groups of people are identified in Farm Bill legislation and in USDA policy as being Historically Underserved (HU). Four groups are defined by USDA as “Historically Underserved,” including farmers or ranchers who are:  Beginning, Socially Disadvantaged, Military veterans and Limited Resource

Civil Rights Committee

Name Position Phone Number Email
Rob Lawson
Deputy Civil Rights Officer
Melissa Baier
Civil Rights Advisory Committee Chair
Ashley Forrester
LGBTQI+ Program Manager
Shannon Bassett
Federal Women's Program Manager
Jonathon Sliva
Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager
Kimberly O’Connell
American Indian/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian Emphasis Program Manager
Josh Malchow
Black Emphasis Program Manager
Nicole Strand
Disability Emphasis Program Manager
Shawn Riley
Veterans Emphasis Program Manager
Eric Smith
Asian American/Pacific Islander Emphasis Program Manager