CDFA Racial Equity Action Plan


Since the passage of AB 1348, the Farmer Equity Act, in 2017, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been taking steady steps to address historic and systemic racial inequities. The CDFA recognizes the historical inequities and discrimination within agriculture and has taken action to start to address the root causes of those inequities. This Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) is a plan for action to guide long-term efforts to embed equity throughout CDFA programs, policies and practices. The REAP is a guide on how to continue to build and change structures and systems so that all California producers have the same opportunities and that ultimately race, ethnicity or gender does not determine life outcomes in the agricultural sector in California. The CDFA recognizes this takes time, trust and it is an iterative process of setting forth the intention to repair inequitable systems that serve certain groups over others. In the context of climate change this has become an even more acute focus of the agency, as more and more sectors of California agriculture are facing impacts of climate change and disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. The CDFA also recognizes that there is an important need to address internal equity systems, structures and activities through the lens of racial equity. The CDFA is comprised of hundreds of staff who work each day to protect and serve California agriculture. The CDFA recognizes the value of the diversity of our dedicated staff who work each day to protect and serve California agriculture and thus it is a high priority to build and strengthen internal equity systems at the agency to fully realize the vision of California for All. /p>


The Farm Equity Office (FEO) was created in 2018 and it is within the Executive Office at CDFA. The FEO focuses on implementation of the Farmer Equity Act, and on all external matters impacting farmers, horticulturalists, small-scale producers, and tribal communities. The FEO works throughout all CDFA Divisions and collaborates with all programs at CDFA. In 2021, CDFA also re-named the EEO office as the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to more specifically focus on eliminating discrimination and driving internal equity focused initiatives for CDFA’s employees, applicants, appointees, and the system of District Agricultural Associations. Together, with the support of CDFA’s Executive Office, and input from all CDFA’s employees, the FEO and the OCR have created CDFA’s REAP. This plan takes a holistic approach to addressing racial equity by including both internal-facing and external-facing goals and objectives. The FEO focuses on external efforts to advance and prioritize equity with stakeholders, producers and interagency collaboration on equity focused initiatives. The OCR focuses on internal initiatives related to hiring, education, tools, and upward mobility to ensure the internal workings of CDFA are equity focused and beneficial for all CDFA employees. This two-pronged approach allows the CDFA to strategically address racism and lift up marginalized communities through both internal processes and initiatives, and through continued engagement with external stakeholder groups. Additionally, the REAP is in alignment with and complimentary to the CDFA Strategic Plan and also the recently published “Ag Vision for the Next Decade,” which highlights and embeds equity throughout the plan.


In 2020, sixteen CDFA staff and an executive sponsor began a year-long training through the Capital Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE). At the culmination of this training, CDFA developed a draft racial equity action plan. The following year, CDFA held a series of listening sessions, trainings and discussions with all of CDFA staff to inform and refine the REAP to reflect all of CDFA programs and divisions and to raise awareness of the plan among staff and leadership.

Next Steps:

The CDFA will present this plan to the public in September 2023, and hold public listening sessions about the plan throughout the remainder of 2023 and early 2024. The CDFA is also available to host this plan to the public in a series of public listening sessions throughout the remainder of 2023 and early 2024.

CDFA envisions this plan as a guide and the backbone of our work as an agency to address racial equity, and also a mechanism to continue to ensure that AB 1348, the Farmer Equity Act, continues to be implemented across CDFA. The REAP is meant to be a living document to be revised regularly to track and ensure progress is being made towards achieving the outcomes and vision laid forth in the plan.


The REAP has a vision, followed by 5 Goals/Outcomes. Under each of those goals, there are strategies to achieve the outcome, followed by action. This plan is meant to be revisited annually, with updates on progress and new links to resources, tools, policies or initiatives to address equity. The new Farm Equity homepage will contain new tools, resources, data and metrics that will be collected throughout the process to measure progress towards the goals and vision of this plan.

CDFA Racial Equity Action Plan

Vision: All Californians have the right to grow and have access to food.

REAP Goal/Outcome 1: Californians most underserved by CDFA will be engaged, benefit from and have active voices in CDFA programs, policies and resources.

Strategy 1: Ensure CDFA grant programs, services and advisory groups are accessible to all California producers and organizations.

Action 1: Develop and set target goals and metrics within each CDFA grant program for funding and serving socially disadvantaged and small-scale and medium scale producers.

Action 2: Create a demographic survey tool, embed the tool throughout programs and utilize it to compile and analyze demographic and business size data across programs. The data will enable data driven outreach and program strategies to further ensure historically underserved groups are engaged and benefiting from CDFA programs and services. 2024-2025 will serve as baseline data year.

Action 3: Ensure that all CDFA grant programs have technical assistance as a component of programs. Provide training for 100% of CDFA grant program staff on outreach/engagement techniques, language access and technical assistance best practices. Utilize and analyze data on TA impacts to drive decisions on percentage of funding allocated to TA providers. Increase % of TA funding throughout CDFA grant programs that serve socially disadvantaged producers and disadvantaged communities.

Action 4: Collaborate among sister agencies, including USDA programs, to increase awareness and alignment of TA services with the goal of increasing services to increase long-term economic resilience and viability of CA underserved producers and to also increase long-term adoption of climate resiliency measures among producers and tribes in California. Develop TA strategy and model for CDFA grant programs that includes priority and language for serving socially disadvantaged, historically underserved and small-scale producers and organizations. Identify target staff #'s needed to effectively administer TA and outreach.

Action 5: Ensure that information about CDFA programs, services and regulations are available in the languages spoken in the agricultural community in California. Ensure that written public information, notices and grant information is available in languages other than English and in-person or virtual listening sessions and meetings include interpretation.

Strategy 2: Ensure that socially disadvantaged producers and disadvantaged communities have a voice in CDFA'’s programs and policies.

Action 1: Formalize the BIPOC Producer Advisory committee and Small-scale producer advisory committees to advise the Secretary and State Board on efforts to address equity and implementation of AB 1348 and understand barriers and challenges for socially disadvantaged and small-scale producers and ensure implementation of AB 1348 the Farmer Equity Act.

Action 2: Ensure that Tribal Governments have the opportunity to consult with CDFA and identify the best mechanism to engage and guide programs and policies important to Tribes across the state. Conduct series of listening sessions in 2023 to inform and guide process for formal Tribal Advisory Committee or other formal advisory structure that enables CA Native American tribes to advise, inform and guide CDFA programs and structures to increase access and percentage of funding going to CA Native American tribes.

Action 3: Enhance outreach and engagement to ensure historically underserved groups, including Tribal members and small-scale producers, serve on CDFA boards and commissions. Utilize demographic data questionnaires to track and set benchmarks to increase representation across all CDFA advisory committee bodies to realize the objective of having proportionately representative CDFA advisory committee bodies.

Action 4: Collaborate with other State agencies to support a government-wide mechanism to ensure socially disadvantaged, small-scale advisory committee members are compensated for their time away from their small-businesses to participate in meetings. Ensure that the amount of compensation is appropriate is sufficient for the requirements and time requirements of the committee.

Action 5: Form an internal CDFA Tribal outreach and engagement working group to increase overall CDFA engagement with CA Native American Tribes. This working group will respond to Tribal requests or input on programs, develop best practices and act as their program’s point of contact and conduit to the CDFA Tribal liaison. This group will also attend workshops, conferences and engage with Tribes as appropriate or requested for informal requests or technical assistance to apply for CDFA programs.

Strategy 3: Embed equity within job descriptions of key Division staff to ensure staff are able to focus and prioritize components of equity within their job duties.

Action 1: All CDFA programs will set bilingual hiring targets for key outreach and communications positions and ensure those individuals are eligible for bilingual stipend and have access to further training and employee development.

REAP Goal/Outcome 2: Achieve racial diversity throughout CDFA at all levels, reflective of California’s demographics.

Strategy 1: Interview, advertise, and hire with a stronger focus on core competencies to eliminate human subjectivity (Focus on knowledge, skills, and abilities.)

Action 1 (Hiring): Utilize subject matter experts (SME) to develop internal CDFA guides focused on classification core competencies for interviewing, application review, and advertisement.

Action 2 (Hiring): Engage with CalHR in their efforts to develop a blind application review process and be compliant with it once developed and released.

Strategy 2: Implement and require "Diversity" competencies and considerations in the hiring process.

Action 1: Develop and implement a Diversity in Hiring Policy for CDFA. Make diversity in the workplace a required expectation per policy.

Action 2: Develop "Diversity" related questions to be used and required in all hiring interviews. Require diversity on interview panels.

Action 3: Increase number of bilingual CDFA staff to increase and match the diversity of Civil Service workforce demographics.

Action 4: Create marketing, job announcements and advertisements related to CDFA career opportunities more focused on recruitment of BIPOC individuals and also recruitment from individuals residing in disadvantaged communities.

REAP Goal/Outcome 3: All CDFA staff will have opportunities for advancement, training, and career development.

Strategy 1: Leverage Upward Mobility Program (UMP), Leadership Cohort, and Executive Mentoring programs to encourage the advancement of BIPOC employees.

Action 1: Broaden the marketing and outreach of the UMP, Leadership Cohort, and Mentoring Program to increase and maximize the number of participants and counselors/mentors enrolled; focusing on Low Paying Classifications (UMP) and/or those classifications that are predominantly held by BIPOC individuals. Increase the number of low paying classification employees participating in the Upward Mobility Program.

Action 2: Establish quarterly meetings between the coordinators of the UMP, Leadership Cohort, and Mentoring Program to strategize collaborative efforts, how the programs play into each other, and to develop alternative methods to promote upward mobility.

Action 3: Revise the Exit Interview program to collect demographic data and create the "Stay Interview Program."

Action 4: Develop a committee to focus on the retention of CDFA staff utilizing tools such as the Exit Interview Program, bi-annual Employee Satisfaction Survey, and Stay Interview Program.

REAP Goal/Outcome 4: All CDFA staff receive on-going training, resources, and tools on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Racial Equity.

Strategy 1: Offer on-going training, education opportunities, and resources for all staff focused on racial equity.

Action 1: Require no fewer than two DEI and/or racial equity trainings upon hire and every 2 years thereafter.

Action 2: Create a yearly calendar of events and trainings related to DEI and racial equity. Pre-select DEI courses from CDFA University, CalHR, and CPS as options for training.

Action 3: Partner with DEI/Implicit Bias/Racial Equity vendor to train CDFA with customizable material.

Action 4: Develop a CDFA DEI / Racial Equity internal hub and toolkit with resources, materials and educational opportunities.

REAP Goal/Outcome 5: CDFA intentionally creates an internal culture of inclusion, diversity and belonging.

Action 1: Create an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and a Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) at CDFA. Facilitate cooperation among committees, plan events and solicit topics of interest among members. Include the DAC in organization decisions.

Action 2: Create spaces where CDFA employees feel safe to share experiences, ask questions, and foster inclusivity through creation of Employee Resource Groups.

Action 3: Create at least 3 external/community partnerships per year to highlight speaker series, events and incorporate staff ideas to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion.