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Civil Rights

Maryland NRCS CRAC Blog

A graphic of Martin Luther King, Jr. in front of an American flag.Honoring the Memory of Dr. King

By Laura Eddy

January 17th, 2022, marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a time to commemorate the achievements and observe the birthday of the Civil Rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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Vision of Civil Rights and Diversity from Maryland NRCS State Conservationist

A commitment to Civil Rights and diversity that demonstrates exceptional employer and Government service where diversity is so deeply imbedded in our employees that it is part of our NRCS culture; invisible, unconscious and ever present yet clear and apparent to our customers.

The Maryland Civil Rights Advisory Committee is an advisory body to the State Conservationist (STC) which promotes and assists in meaningful and effective affirmative action consistent with the goals and objectives set forth by management.  The Committee:

  • provides feedback on the performance of the civil rights program.

  • makes recommendations for improvement.

  • identifies emerging areas needing special attention by the STC and Management Team.

  • makes recommendations to the STC regarding policy, practices, and procedures as they affect civil rights state-wide.

Maryland Civil Rights Advisory Committee

NRCS at Large

Chair - Jessica Aronhalt, Garrett
Vice-Chair - David Kidwell-Slak, PMC
Secretary - Laura Eddy, Talbot
At-Large - Rosalyn Smoth, Somerset/Wicomico
At-Large - Mitchell LeMuiex, Anne Arundel
Associate Member - Steve Ricks, Annapolis
Associate Member - Vacant
Partnership Members
Maryland Department of Agriculture - Bryon Petrauskas
OSEC - Lisa Purnell
Farm Service Agency - Jim Eichhorst
Farm Service Agency - Laura Pleasanton
RC&D - Cindy Greb
Western MD RC&D - Josh Smith
MASCD - Jen Nelson
RMA - Edward Gregory
UMES - Dr. Moses Kairo
Advisory Committee Members
Deputy Civil Rights Officer - Dr. Terron Hillsman
Management & Strategy - Ramon Ortiz
Outreach Coordinator - Vacant
Public Affairs - Jessica Duerstine
Business Services Specialist - Darwin Arceo

Special Emphasis Program Managers (SEPM)

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  insure that equal opportunity is present in all aspects of NRCS programs and services. This includes assisting the State Conservationist to identify under representation and ensure positive actions are being taken to address any such problem areas. Special Emphasis Program Managers 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 insure effective communications among all persons and areas dealing with, or affected by, agency civil rights responsibilities.

Below are links to the national special emphasis programs websites and our Maryland contacts.

Program Name Program Manager
Federal Women's Program Jennifer Richardon
Black Emphasis Program Matt Drury
Hispanic Emphasis Program Andrew Zimmerman
American Indian/Alaskan Native Emphasis Program Jack King
Disabilities Emphasis Program Sam Engler
Asian American/Pacific Islander Emphasis Program Rebecca Brown
Veterans Emphasis Program Jennifer Kemp
Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual/Transgender Emphasis Program Zach Berry

Other Information

National Civil Rights Division

Required Posters and Information

Limited English Proficiency Handbook

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaint Process

Professional and Employee Organizations