Ag Secretary Vilsack calls for equity in ag aid payments

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said socially disadvantaged farmers were discriminated against during previous rounds of COVID assistance.

Vilsack said minority farmers make up about 11 percent of the farming community but…

“99 percent of the $38 billion that has already been spent and invested in producer assistance, 99 percent went to white farmers,” Vilsack said.

He said historically, socially disadvantaged farmers have had loans denied or processed late with higher interest rates. Vilsack points to a lack of trust from minority farmers towards USDA as a concern going forward.

“My guess is, if we had better outreach, those percentages would be different,” he said.

Vilsack said black farmers received one tenth of a percent of the total COVID aid to ag producers. USDA is developing rules for new programs to emphasize support to small and socially disadvantaged producers. Vilsack made his comments on a National Association of Farm Broadcasting media call Wednesday.

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