Washington, D.C. — Today, Farm Action Fund released to the Biden-Harris Administration a transition paper titled “Build Back Better: Our Call to Action and Roadmap for Rural America.” This paper outlines recommendations for the administration to successfully revitalize rural communities and was endorsed by 16 food, farm, and rural organizations.
More specifically, our coalition calls on the Biden-Harris administration to take on five key issues:
- Building a Bench in Rural America: Intentionally Involving Rural Americans in the Movement for a More Just Economy and Food System
- Rooting Out Systemic Racism and Creating Opportunity for All
- Democratizing the Agrifood System
- Combating Climate Change through Rural Innovation
- Modernizing Rural Infrastructure and Investing in Its People
Farm Action Fund President Joe Maxwell stated: “For far too long rural America has been ignored by those in Washington D.C. leading to poverty rates 30% higher in rural areas than urban areas, a loss of population which undermines the tax base for essential services, and hospitals hours away from the rural citizens. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ legacy will be built on how successful they are in transforming rural America into an economic hub of prosperity for all rural communities.”
Farm Action Fund and the 16 other organizations who have signed on to the transition paper believe that our food system is a key intervention point to bring about a more inclusive economy that addresses discrimination and respects our land, natural resources and neighbors here and around the world.
Endorsers of the transition paper include: Farm Action Fund, People’s Action, American Grassfed Association, American Economic Liberties Project, Farm Aid, Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Center for Food Safety, Open Markets Institute, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, RuralOrganizing.org, Humane Society of the United States, Revolving Door Project, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, National Housing Law Project, and Climate Crisis Policy.
As important as the policy path the Biden-Harris Administration chooses is the personnel selected to carry out the work of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Traditionally, political appointee positions have been stuffed with the well-connected in Washington, D.C. and state capitols. Farm Action Fund encourages a new approach that pulls from the vast talent pool across the country. Farm Action Fund has put forward to the Biden-Harris team the names of over 100 individuals to fill senior USDA appointments and Schedule C positions, to be led by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge as our recommendation for USDA Secretary.
Maxwell continued: “Congresswoman Fudge has a vision for our food and agriculture system that is inclusive of America’s farmers, food chain workers, and local and regional businesses. What we need in a USDA Secretary is a leader who will root out the historical discrimination within the department’s farm programs, who will lift up all farmers not with government handouts but with markets that work, who will work to restore food security for all families, and who will restore Abraham Lincoln’s vision for the department as ‘The People’s Department.’”
Addressing increasing corporate consolidation in our food systems requires a robust federal response that revives rural communities and includes them in the decision-making process, letting them know they have not been forgotten.
Media Contact: Anna Straus, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the transition paper here. High quality file available upon request.