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Black farmers unconvinced by Vilsack's 'root out' racism vow

Tom Vilsack, Joe Biden
Posted at 1:31 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 14:31:06-05

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.

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.

The former Iowa governor served eight years as agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama.

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