Our Purpose

Equality USDA is focused on enriching the work-life of LGBTQ+ USDA employees and retirees by building a Federal workplace where employees feel safe bringing their full authentic selves to work. The acronym “LGBTQ+” is used by Equality USDA to represent the range of sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions present in our world, including but not limited to: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, pansexual, two Spirit, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, intersex, asexual, and ally.

Our Mission

The mission of Equality USDA is to create and continue to foster a work environment free of discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Our Vision

Equality USDA seeks to make USDA a place where you can grow your own destiny, no matter who you are or whom you love.

Our Executive Board

President: Jeremy Wood (he/him)

Jeremy has been a part of the USDA family for over 20 years and works in the Office of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Office of the Secretary. Jeremy has worked in Civil Rights/Affirmative employment at several USDA Agencies and been involved with the LGBTQ+ Special Emphasis Program since its creation in 2009. Jeremy is currently serving as the President of Equality USDA, the LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group, is co-leading USDA’s efforts to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, USDA’s Programmatic Equity work, and has served on USDA’s delegation of the White House Gender Policy Council.

Vice-President: Joshua Allen (he/him/they/them)

Joshua “Josh” Allen was born and raised in Lake Charles, LA. Joshua, received their Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a concentration in Agronomy from Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX, May 2014. After graduation, they began their career as a Biology Teacher/Events Coordinator with P.U.S.H. Academy in Denver, CO. There, Josh worked with High School Seniors to prepare for next steps in academic or occupational journey, such as planning career fairs, developing resumes, community service and college applications. The following year, 2015, Josh shifted their career trajectory and accepted a position as a Soil Conservationist with NRCS in Hereford, TX and El Paso, TX in 2016 until transferring to Vermont as a Senior Soil conservationist in 2019. While serving in this capacity, Josh collaborated with local tribal governments, landowners, and farmers to inform and edify public on NRCS programs, eligibility, and the application process to encourage increased program delivery. Additionally, he served as the LGBTQI+ SEPM with Texas and Vermont NRCS to improve overall customer, employee, and partner engagement. Late 2022, Josh was hired as the Outreach Coordinator with NRCS Vermont where he has fortified relationships with existing partners, while forging new partnerships to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility of the agency’s resources. Currently, Joshua serves as the national LGBTQI+ and Disability special emphasis program manager with the Civil Rights & EEO Division on the Title VII Team. In their spare time, Josh loves long hikes with their dog Blu, swimming, cookouts, gymnastics workouts and building community! Additionally, Josh is a musician and plays guitar, piano, saxophone, in addition to singing, writing, and producing music.

Communications Director: Justin Fritscher (he/him)

Justin is the Public Affairs Section Chief for USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Business Center, leading communications for USDA’s farm program agencies (Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency). He joined USDA in 2011, originally working for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Jackson, Mississippi. Justin is a Louisiana native and a Louisiana State University and Jackson State University alumnus.

Secretary: Esther Lattin (they/ he/ she/ esther — mix it up)

Esther is the Business Tools Coordinator for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Oregon. Esther also serves as the Disability Special Emphasis Program Manager and a member of the Equality USDA Pronouns Cadre. Esther is a scientist, an educator and a community builder. Esther firmly believes that together, we can save the world one soil aggregate and human interaction and at a time.

Partnership Liaison: Cristina Miller (she/her)

Cristina is a health economist with Rural Development Innovation Center supporting the work of the USDA Rural Health Liaison. She has been part of the USDA family for 14 years. Prior to federal service, she was a golf pro and a German-to-English translator for the senior executives of a large German corporation in the U.S. She holds a M.A. in Political Science, a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics, a certificate in agriculture health and safety, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics.

Past President: Meghan Walter (she/her)

Meghan is an Environmental Engineer for NRCS’s West National Technology Support Center in Portland, Oregon. She provides technical expertise to the western 13 states in dam safety, hydrology, hydraulic and environmental engineering, and stream and wetland restoration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, a master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Oregon and Iowa. Meghan served as the President of Equality USDA from 2018-2021.

Treasurer: Vacant Position

Community Outreach & Engagement Committee Co-Chair: Jessica Humes (she/her)

Jessica is the Business Tools Coordinator for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington, providing training and troubleshooting to help NRCS employees document the conservation plans they create with their local ag producers. She has been with NRCS since 2009, working in various positions across the country before returning to her home state of Washington in 2023. She has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation. In her free time, she enjoys camping with her corgi/husky mix, Watson.

Community Outreach & Engagement Committee Co-Chair: KC Cifizzari (they/he)

KC is fairly new to the USDA family and has worked with the Agricultural Research Service as a technician in the Precision Conservation Crop Lab at the Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, WI for 3 years. They worked on farms for many years before going back to school and completing both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology. He grew up in Indiana and traveled and lived in several places before landing in the dairyland state of Wisconsin, which worked out well since one of KC’s absolute favorite foods is cheese. KC is passionate about building inclusive spaces and community, food and environmental justice, Prince, gardening, and his two cats.

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