Vilsack Explains Purpose Behind Creation Of USDA Equity Commission

The USDA is creating an Equity Commission. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, explains why:

“In the 70s, 80s, maybe even the 90s, Black farmers would go in to an FSA office in some states, and they would either not get a loan, or they would get the loan late, very late in the planting season, or they would get a loan with the interest rate that was higher.”

“By virtue of that they weren’t able to plant or weren’t able to plant on time or weren’t able to get the kind of productivity that their white neighbor got,” he continued. At the same time, Vilsack noted, U.S. disaster programs were developed using production as a basis for providing compensation.

“The problem is, when you basically compensate on production, the person who’s producing more benefits more. So what does that mean? It means the gap widens. We’re going to look very closely and deeply in to all of our programs to determine whether or not there is systemic racism in any of the programs whether there are barriers in programs that prevent participation.”

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