The USDA has historically not been a friend to minority farmers, especially farmers of color. For example, see the Pigford Case- a class action suit filed by black farmers that was settled earlier this year for $1.25 billion dollars after black farmers had complained for many years that they were subject to unfair treatment while applying to local county committees for farm loans and assistance. Black farmers were consistently denied USDA farm loans or forced to wait longer periods of time for approval than non-minority farmers often causing farms to shutdown because of foreclosure or financial disaster.
Considering this horrific historical relationship to minority farmers, I wanted to know what the USDA was going to do to be an ally for queer farmers. Mr. Stevens didn't seem to have too many immediate answers, as his focus is currently on increasing awareness and leading the USDA's employees to create queer friendly workplaces. He mentioned that it would most likely be around 5 years until real the work of outreach and focus on queer friendly customer (farmer) service from the USDA side would happen. In good news, he did mention that to his knowledge, no discrimination cases have ever been filed with the USDA based on issues related to gender identity or sexual orientation.