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Black farmers unconvinced by Vilsack’s ‘root out’ racism vow

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, Rod Bradshaw stands in a field of wheat on his farm near Jetmore, Kan. President Joe Biden's nomination of Tom Vilsack to lead the Agriculture Department is getting a chilly reaction from many Black farmers who contend he didn't do enough to help them the last time he had the job. The former Iowa governor served eight years as agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel File)

By ROXANA HEGEMAN Associated Press
BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s nomination of Tom Vilsack to lead the Agriculture Department is getting a chilly reaction from many Black farmers who contend he didn’t do enough to help them the last time he had the job. The former Iowa governor served eight years as agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama. Vilsack is trying to assure minority farming groups and the senators who will vote on his confirmation that he will work to “root out generations of systemic racism” in the agency. But many Black farmers fault him for failing to address a backlog of discrimination complaints in the department and for firing a Black woman for remarks that he later learned were taken out of context.

 

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