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Ka Ying Vang Earns USDA NRCS National Civil Rights Award

Left to Right: Carlos Suarez, California State Conservationist and Co-Chair of the National Civil Rights Advisory Committee to the Chief; Mai Yia Yang, recipients wife; KaYing Vang, award recipient; Leonard Jordan, acting NRCS Chief.
(L to R) Carlos Suarez, California State Conservationist and Co-Chair of the National Civil Rights Advisory Commitee; Mai Yia Vang, recipient's wife; Ka Ying Vang, award recipient; Leonard Jordan, acting NRCS Chief.

Madison, Wis. – February 12, 2018 – Ka Ying Vang, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Conservationist, received the NRCS Chief’s National Individual Civil Rights Award for 2017. The honor was presented at the National Association of Conservation Districts Conference, January 29, 2018. The award was selected based on promotion and demonstration of the core values and behaviors set out in the Civil Service Ethical Code, added value in addition to normal duties, working in partnership, innovation, measurable benefits and overall impact.

The National Civil Rights Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the USDA-NRCS in the area of Civil Rights program delivery. KaYing was a member of the Civil Rights Committee for over seven years as the Asian Pacific Islander Special Emphasis Program Manager. As an experienced Soil Conservationist, Ka is a leader in outreach activities with historically underserved populations across Wisconsin.

Ka assists NRCS in developing local client relationships with underserved populations, specifically the translation of written and oral communications reaching Hmong populations across the state. The materials Ka developed have also been used nationally to reach Hmong populations. Ka also assists with various Hmong garden workshops in Chippewa, Eau Claire, Dunn, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Brown, Portage and Marathon counties, sharing information about soil health and conservation. He’s also taught workshops in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ka volunteers to assist other agencies and partners with conservation outreach programs associated with the Hmong Community.

“Ka has been instrumental in furthering our partnership with the Hmong community in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin State Conservationist, Angela Biggs. “One recent highlight, Ka collaborated with the Eau Claire Area Hmong Assistance Association to spark a successful community garden project through a cooperative agreement. He also directly trained Hmong community members on soil health and conservation practices to use at the community garden,” added Biggs. Ka explains, “The workshop really opened their eyes; they never thought of the soil as being something living; it was so fulfilling to teach them and help make a difference; hearing they’ve never thought of some of the soil health teachings before and were excited to try them, was rewarding.”

Ka is also a critical team member of the Dunn Youth Education Committee, working with schools and groups to set up environmental education days for students, building interest and relationships with future conservationists. Ka’s work is exemplary and his professional attitude enables him to build key partnerships with underserved communities to further conservation work to diverse clients and communities. Please join us in congratulating Ka Ying Vang as the 2017 NRCS Chief’s National Individual Civil Rights Award recipient.

For more information about resources offered by NRCS to the historically underserved, visit


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