Monday, May 06, 2013

Secretary Vilsack and Ag Historian Weigh in on Settlement Controversy

In a Voice of the People letter to the editor published in today's Chicago Tribune, USDA Discrimination, Secretary Vilsack weighed in on the Times and Tribune criticism of the settlement process used to resolve longstanding discrimination complaints at the USDA.  Secretary Vilsack takes emphasizes the controls built into the new settlements approved by the Obama administration. He states that the USDA "ensured that each would be led by a neutral, third-party adjudicator . . . [and] that "each of the processes require documentary evidence in order for a claimant to prevail."  He further promises that " all potentially fraudulent claims are referred to the appropriate federal authorities for investigation."

George Mason's History News Network published an article, NYT Ignores USDA Discrimination, written by Agricultural Historian, Pete Daniel.  Daniel's latest book is Dispossession: Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights." His article details longstanding discrimination against African American farmers in the administration of USDA programs and raises a direct challenge to the Times reference to "career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination."

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