The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final guidance on the Title VI prohibition against national origin discrimination as it affects limited English proficient persons. This is consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title VI regulations, and Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).” An individual who does not speak English as their primary language and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English, can be considered limited English proficient or “LEP”. The impacts of being a LEP customer may include:
- Limited access to RMA activities and programs.
- Limited agriculture diversity in products or services.
- Limited involvement of communities who need assistance with agriculture needs.
- Limited disaster and emergency preparedness.
The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that LEP individuals are not excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of an applicant or recipient receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture or any Agency thereof.
This guidance does not impose any new requirements, but reiterates longstanding Title VI and regulatory principles and clarifies USDA’s position to ensure that LEP persons receive the language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to USDA programs and activities, free of charge. To this end, Global Ag recommends the following:
- Download and print Language Identification/ I-Speak Cards from the LEP website: https://www.lep.gov/resources/resources.html#ispeak. These materials will help to identify the language of individuals who do not speak English.
- Translation: Contact Global Ag if a LEP individual requests a document in a language other than English. Global Ag will request a copy of this document from RMA in the specified language.
- Interpretation: If a LEP individual requests oral translation services. Oral interpretations can be provided in person or via telephone interpreter services. Oral interpretation can range from hiring bilingual staff, to contracting with qualified outside in-person or telephonic interpreter services. Also feel free to contact Global Ag. Global Ag will work with RMA to find an RMA accepted translation service.
For more LEP Resources and Information or to file a complaint, visit the LEP website at https://www.lep.gov/.