Washington, D.C. — Today, Farm Action Fund responded to president elect Biden’s selection of Tom Vilsack for USDA secretary. Farm Action Fund questions Vilsack’s ability to lead the USDA into the future, concerned over Vilsack’s overt ties to corporate agribusiness and his track record of catering to corporate interests during his time in this position under the Obama administration.
Farm Action Fund Vice President Angela Huffman stated: “We need a new direction at USDA: one that supports resilient local and regional food systems and provides opportunity for all farmers. Vilsack has worked to further globalize our food system for the benefit of a handful of monopoly corporations. This will be a true test of whether he will lead us forward, or continue the status quo of corporate consolidation and exploitation in our food systems. Either way, Farm Action Fund will continue to work with the Biden administration, applying pressure as needed to remedy the grave injustices that have been perpetuated by the USDA.”
Farm Action Fund has pushed forward its top policy recommendations for Vilsack, which will address some of Vilsack’s historic shortcomings including, but not limited to, systemic discrimination against Black farmers, failure to enact meaningful antitrust laws, and lack of transparency in the use of checkoff program funds.
Farm Action Fund’s policy priorities for USDA’s first 100 days:
- Address the historic racism at USDA by enacting provisions of the Justice for Black Farmers Act
- Improve credit access for historically underserved farmers and ranchers
- Place a high priority on antitrust enforcement
- Create transparency and fairness in labeling
- Reign in commodity checkoff program abuses
- Begin the transformation to a more resilient food system
These policy recommendations are drawn from Farm Action Fund’s larger 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.
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