Accessibility, Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity, and Outreach Resources
ProAg is an equal opportunity provider and employer. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of 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 (not all bases apply to all programs).
All Federal employees, including contractors, political appointees and appointed representatives, as well as those who represent USDA, those who administer USDA programs and recipients who distribute USDA program benefits, are accountable and expected to understand, comply with and abide by USDA’s civil rights policies, procedures, and practices as these pertain to employment and program delivery.
ProAg takes the public/private partnership with USDA as a cornerstone of the risk management program. With that partnership comes great responsibility to educate our partners and employees and equip them with the resources to conduct business in a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory manner, including outreach to our under-served communities. The resources below should be viewed as a starting point for a coordinated effort of outreach, civil rights protection, accessibility accommodation and assurance of equal opportunity.
Accessibility Accommodation Plans and ADA Requirements
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures people with disabilities have equal access to goods and services by requiring businesses to make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices and procedures. Modifications could include architectural changes or providing aid to ensure access. The goal is to afford every individual the opportunity to benefit from the same businesses and services as all Americans. We strongly encourage our partners and affiliates to review the ADA requirements and formulate a written Accessibility Accommodation Plan specifically for your office. The Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal for existing facilities can be used as a reference in developing your plan. (The checklist is in the list of resources provided below.)
And Justice for All
The “And Justice for All” Civil Rights poster must be prominently displayed in all offices that are recipients of federally assisted programs, including ProAg offices and those agencies writing for ProAg. The required poster should be displayed in the specific size of 11″ wide x 17″ high.
If you need copies of this poster, please get in touch with your ProAg District Sales Manager or see the link in the resources below.
Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Public Notification
ProAg and all associated agents must meet the Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity public notification policy by requiring that all letters, brochures, advertisements, pamphlets, presentations, newsletters, other public notification documents and especially websites contain the current non-discrimination statement. Exceptions will only be made if the size of the material is too small to include the full statement. The font size shall be the same for the following statement regardless: “(XYZ Name) is an equal opportunity provider.” Please see the most recent non-discrimination statement found on the RMA website at https://www.rma.usda.gov/About-RMA/Laws-and-Regulations/Required-Statements/Non-Discrimination-Statement.
For individuals with limited English proficiency, ProAg provides free resources to assist with understanding crop insurance as well as policies and documents translated into preferred languages. Individuals with limited English proficiency have the right to an interpreter at no cost and can contact ProAg’s regional offices for more information or email email@example.com.
A language assistance plan (LAP) is necessary to comply with the Title VI Prohibition against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Persons with Limited English Proficiency. Since each agency’s business is focused on specific region(s), state(s) and counties which have different populations of LEP individuals, when deciding on language resources, it is important to refer to these specific demographics. The following four factors should be used to determine the appropriate plan of action in supporting limited English proficient individuals: identify the population, document frequency of contact, determine how urgency impacts specific services and review available resources.
Please refer to 20016-712 – Administrative – Language Assistance Plan (LAP) for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals for additional details around creating a plan that is specific to your agency or organization.
Agent partners of ProAg should review sources such as the Agriculture Census Data for the demographics in their servicing areas to identify potential populations or customer groups that have low to no participation in the crop insurance program. In the list of resources below, please find links to the Agriculture Census and Census Bureau data that may be used to identify program outreach needs for underrepresented populations. Agents are strongly encouraged to participate in the USDA, National Crop Insurance Services and other community program outreach activities. Information regarding USDA program outreach activities can be obtained from state and local farming community event and conference listings found at USDA agency offices, local county agent offices and local agricultural colleges and universities, where applicable. The USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights website is found below.
Once potentially underserved groups are identified, it is essential to gather information about and understand the characteristics of these groups. Successful outreach and increased program participation cannot be achieved without understanding their characteristics (including social, economic, cultural, attitudes and perspectives), connections to land and agriculture, what has limited their participation, what is their motivation for participation and what benefits are we offering.
ProAg agents should keep track of any outreach activities they participate in for future review by ProAg, USDA and/or RMA.
USDA RMA Resources and Program Outreach Information
- USDA Office of the Assistant for Civil Rights
- USDA And Justice for All Posters
- USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Process
- USDA Disability – Compliance Resources
- DOJ Disability – Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act
- DOJ Disability – The Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
- FSA State Outreach Coordinators
- USDA Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher Self Determination Tool
- USDA RMA Outreach – NASS Census by State
- USDA RMA Outreach – U.S. Census Quick Facts
- USDA RMA Outreach – Risk Management Education Centers
- USDA RMA Outreach – 1890s Land Grant Universities Extension Directors PDF
- USDA RMA Outreach – Annie’s Project
- USDA RMA Outreach – Black Farmers Network
- USDA RMA Outreach – National Black Growers Council
- USDA RMA Outreach – National AgrAbility Project
- USDA RMA Outreach – Land-Grant University Website Directory
- Limited English Proficiency Support – ProAg Language Resources
- Limited English Proficiency Support – Language Service Providers
- Limited English Proficiency Support – LEP.gov Map App – State and County Language Data