Monica Armster Rainge was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Rainge is an agricultural lawyer and mediator. She has worked in the public and private agricultural sectors for more than 25 years. Most recently, she served as the Director of Land Retention and Advocacy for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund where she led the development and management of outreach and technical assistance programs that support regional land retention and advocacy initiatives for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Rainge also directed the Federation’s Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center which provides USDA-certified mediation services in Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Her professional experience with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund dates back to 1996 when she served as a college intern under the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Internship Program.
Experienced in agricultural policy development and program management, she previously served as the Florida State Coordinator for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. She has managed regional USDA projects focusing on outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Rainge has a long track record of working at the federal and state level to advocate for underserved and marginalized communities. Before her appointment, Rainge served as an executive board member and treasurer of the National Family Farm Coalition and served on the boards of the Southern Rural Development Center and Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG).
“A proud alumna of an 1890 HBCU, a former USDA intern, and a Master 4-H'er of Georgia, Monica is one of the most influential female leaders in agriculture today and we’re grateful to have her on the team,” said Katharine Ferguson, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary. “She has dedicated her career in law and advocacy to fighting for underserved and marginalized communities in food, agriculture and natural resources management. She will help to lead our efforts to ensure equity across the Department, remove barriers to access and root out systemic racism, and build a workforce more representative of America.”
Rainge holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, an 1890 public historically black land-grant university, and a juris doctor from the University of Florida. She earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Graduate Program in Agricultural Law.
Friday June 11th
Closing: What Support Looks Like at the National Level: 4-H Council and USDA/NIFA
Jennifer Sirangelo is a believer in young people and their capacity to change the world. She leads National 4-H Council in its mission to increase investment and participation in high-quality 4-H positive youth development programs. Sirangelo joined Council in 2006 to grow support for America’s largest youth development organization. Council is the non-profit partner to the nation’s 4-H movement, supporting leadership development for nearly six million young people through diverse and inclusive programs in agriculture, science, health and civic engagement by way of alliances with America’s philanthropic sector. Sirangelo is currently leading the largest brand and alumni activation initiative in 4-H history, in partnership with America’s land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension System as well as the United States Department of Agriculture. She is the recipient of the 2020 Gold Stevie® Female Executive of the Year Award for women in business. In 2017, Sirangelo was named to Fast Company’s annual list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. Sirangelo is a member of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council. She also serves on the AgriCorps Board, is an Advisor to the Global 4-H Network Board and is a member of the Farm Foundation Round Table.