Biden’s nomination to head Agriculture gets chilly reaction

National

FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2020 file photo, a farmer discs over a corn field on at a farm north of Woodward, Iowa. The corn was damaged beyond salvage by the recent derecho. Thanks to the government paying nearly 40% of their income, U.S. farmers are expected to end 2020 with higher profit than 2019 and the best net income in seven years, the Department of Agriculture said in its latest farm income forecast. Farmers faced challenges throughout 2020 that included the impact of trade disputes; low prices that drove down cash receipts and weather difficulties. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP File)

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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