Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has renewed his request for a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee to focus on the Office of Civil Rights and the alleged widespread abuses of civil rights throughout the Department of Agriculture. The request was made through a letter to Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Senator Grassley noted that the Department has overcome numerous obstacles and made some progress in this area, but the successes are few and far between. Grassley says when the Office of Civil Rights was set up, it was expected to provide leadership and direction for the fair and equitable treatment of all customers and employees at USDA.
An October 2008 report released by the Government Accountability Office said the Department of Agriculture has continued to struggle to meet its basic responsibilities to guarantee the civil rights of its personnel and ensure that minority farmers and ranchers are served without discrimination.