USDA Announces Programs Supporting Hispanic Representation in U.S. Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announces two initiatives to increase access to USDA programs and services among Hispanic communities. The Department is renewing the USDA-HACU Leadership Group, a partnership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). USDA is also accepting applications for the 2023 E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program, which brings faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Hispanic-Serving School Districts around the nation to USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. to learn more about USDA programs and resources. The E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program was established in 1998 by a previous USDA-HACU Leadership Group.

“USDA is committed to centering Latino voices and experiences to provide equitable access to programming,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our partnership with HACU through this Leadership Group is crucial to providing leadership and strategic direction for USDA’s work with Hispanic-Serving Institutions.”

The USDA-HACU Leadership Group

The USDA-HACU Leadership Group is a national body that focuses on ensuring that the Hispanic community equitably participates in and benefits from USDA education and employment programs, resources and services. The current group was established by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and HACU on August 25, 2021. The USDA-HACU Leadership Group consists of an equal number of USDA representatives and presidents from HSIs, which are defined as institutions that have an undergraduate full-time equivalent of at least 25 percent Hispanic students.

USDA members include:

Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs (Co-Chair)

Karama Neal, Administrator, Rural Business – Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development

Bruce Summers, Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Randy Moore, Chief, USDA Forest Service

Dionne Toombs, Acting Director, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

HACU members include:

Mike Flores, Chancellor, Alamo Colleges District (Co-Chair)

Cesar Maldonado, Chancellor, Houston Community College System

Tomás Morales, President, California State University, San Bernardino

Madeline Pumariega, President, Miami Dade College

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, President, California State University, Fresno

E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program

The application period is open for the annual E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program. The program brings faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Hispanic-Serving School Districts to Washington, D.C., where they meet with USDA leaders, learn about the federal government, and share their insights with students and colleagues in their home institutions and communities.

The fellowships take place in the summer of 2023 and applications are due March 1, 2023.

Education and High School Fellowships are for faculty and staff at Hispanic-Serving Institutions or Hispanic-Serving School Districts. Participants attend a one-week program in Washington, D.C. Science Fellowships are for science faculty at HSIs to collaborate with leading USDA scientists. Participants attend the first week in Washington, D.C. and then spend a second week at a USDA research facility.

To apply for the Kika De La Garza program and learn more about the USDA-HACU Leadership Group, visit USDA’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program or contact

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