The U.S. Department of Agriculture is embarking on a partnership with universities across the country in hopes of infusing its ranks with more diversity as it faces civil rights complaints from Latino farmers and ranchers.
But some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are voicing frustration, saying the agency has yet to adequately address their concerns.
The caucus asked for a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in October, expressing concern about the treatment of Latino farmers and ranchers.
The USDA said this week it can’t talk about civil rights because of pending litigation over grazing permits in New Mexico.
However, the agency told the caucus in a letter that progress is being made on other fronts and pointed to the program with the Hispanic-serving colleges and universities.