WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly poised to nominate Tom Vilsack as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, a post that Vilsack held for eight years under President Barack Obama.
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) released the following statement in response:
“As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under President Obama, Tom Vilsack invested in local and regional food systems, expanded farm-to-institution programs, and promoted the expansion of organic agriculture. However, he also failed to leverage the power of USDA to address the rapid consolidation of agribusiness, the decline of family farms, abuse of livestock producers by meatpackers, and the long history of USDA civil rights violations. His subsequent leadership of the U.S. Dairy Export Council since 2017, which shored up the interests of large-scale dairy processors while 10,000 family dairy farmers went out of business, is further cause for concern. Our public agencies must serve the people, free of corporate influence.
“In the midst of a global pandemic that has devastated farmers and rural communities and dramatically increased the need for nutrition assistance for millions of Americans; after years of senseless trade wars; an existential climate crisis whose disruptions are already clear to farmers; and at a moment of a long-overdue reckoning on race, all Americans – urban and rural; farmers, workers, and consumers – deserve strong and progressive leadership from the USDA.
“NFFC urges Vilsack to commit President Biden’s USDA to a program of rural revitalization from the ground up: rebuilding rural communities through fair prices to farmers, strong protections for livestock growers, robust conservation programs, meaningful enforcement of antitrust laws and organic rules, civil rights reforms and racial equity throughout agriculture, investment in rural infrastructure, and expansion of nutrition programs.”
This post was originally published on Radio Free.