The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International is thrilled to announce that Xochitl Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will receive this year’s Cooperative IMPACT Champion award, presented at the 2022 Cooperative IMPACT Conference.
Prior to coming to Rural Development in October 2021, Xochitl was a U.S. Representative for the 5th largest district in the country—New Mexico’s second congressional district. She was the first woman and first person of color to represent the district.
In her role at USDA, Under Secretary Torres Small overseas loans and grants to provide infrastructure improvements; business development; affordable housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and healthcare; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. During her leadership, USDA Rural Development secured $2 billion to support rural broadband through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Operationalizing equity is the root of rural development,” Under Secretary Torres Small said at the Farm Bill Rural Development Innovation Summit at NCBA CLUSA headquarters in May. “And although [equity] is at rural development’s roots, it is not always rural development’s reality. As we look to reach the most left behind people and the most left behind places, there’s work to be done,” she added.
“As the bedrock of rural development, cooperatives are fundamental partners in this work,” Under Secretary Torres Small said.
NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Doug O’Brien will present Under Secretary Torres Small with the 2022 Cooperative IMPACT Champion Award at the joint opening session on Thursday, October 6.
“Under Secretary Torres Small is a deeply passionate and committed leader for rural America,” O’Brien said. “Her service as a Congressperson from New Mexico gives her a deep understanding of rural places and needs.”
All IMPACT Conference attendees are invited to attend this event in person. Register now and be part of celebrating Secretary Torres Small’s commitment to the success of cooperatives nationwide.
NCBA CLUSA’s Cooperative IMPACT Champion Award is given to individuals in public service who work tirelessly to create an environment in public policy and legislation that allows cooperative businesses to grow and thrive. Recipients of this award are champions of values-based businesses that focus on building resilient, inclusive local communities.