Farm Aid congratulates Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on his confirmation by the United States Senate today. We look forward to having an agriculture secretary who welcomes dialogue and collaboration with farmers and farm organizations. We are heartened to hear of his commitment to address climate change and racial justice in agriculture and at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In his new tenure at USDA, Secretary Vilsack has the opportunity to follow through on work left undone and promises unfulfilled by the “People’s Department” under previous administrations.
Under Vilsack’s previous tenure, USDA disappointed farmers by failing to follow-through on the joint Department of Justice/Department of Agriculture listening sessions that explored corporate power and consolidation in our farm and food system. Farmers put their livelihoods on the line and their farms on hold to share how corporate agribusiness increasingly eliminates their right to a fair and competitive marketplace. Since then, corporate agribusiness has only further consolidated its power.
Additionally, the USDA failed to end their legacy of decades of discrimination against Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and ranchers and USDA employees of color.
Today begins an opportunity to do better—for farmers, ranchers and for the department itself. We hope that the Biden administration will work diligently and openly for a more just and equitable food and farm system. Farm Aid welcomes the opportunity to do all that we can to work with Secretary Vilsack to make that possible.