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Press Release - Readout of USDA Secretary-designee Tom Vilsack's Meeting with Network of Black Farm Organizations & Advocates

December 22, 2020

Agriculture Secretary-designee Tom Vilsack hosted a virtual meeting with Black farm organizations on Tuesday afternoon, sharing his commitment to ensuring fairness and equity for Black farmers as they recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, providing necessary resources to tackle the ongoing systemic issues they face and expanding access to nutrition for communities across the country.

During the discussion, the participants shared their desire to find ways to increase reliable broadband in rural areas to provide better interconnectivity across areas. The group also highlighted the importance of the Justice for Black Farmers Act and the discrimination that Black farmers have faced when trying to access programs, technical and financial assistance from the USDA.

The secretary-designee affirmed his commitment to establishing strong partnerships with organizations that provide assistance to Black farmers and will work to ensure that they have a seat at the table during his time as secretary. Both the secretary-designee and the Network reiterated their commitment to an open and ongoing dialogue.

Participants joining the secretary-designee included:

  • Dorathy Barker, executive director, Operation Spring Plant
  • Cornelius Blanding, executive director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund
  • Ben Burkett, state coordinator, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
  • Johnella Holmes, president and executive director, Kansas Black Farmers Association
  • Savi Horne, executive director, Land Loss Prevention Project
  • Calvin King, founder and executive director, Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation
  • Pamela Madzima, Alabama state coordinator, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Shirley Sherrod, executive director, Southwest Georgia Project
  • Willard Tillman, executive director, Oklahoma Historical Research Project

Joseph R. Biden, Press Release - Readout of USDA Secretary-designee Tom Vilsack's Meeting with Network of Black Farm Organizations & Advocates Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347432