FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, National Young Farmers Coalition
email@example.com, 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (February 23, 2021) – The National Young Farmers Coalition sent a letter congratulating Secretary Vilsack on his confirmation to the position of Secretary of Agriculture, and looks forward to working with him and the rest of USDA leadership to tackle the serious challenges facing young farmers, farmers of color, and farm workers.
“This is a pivotal moment for the future of agriculture,” said Sophie Ackoff, Co-Executive Director. “Not only are farmers and farm workers dealing with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, they are facing a climate crisis that puts their lives and businesses at risk. As much as two-thirds of all farmland and ranchland is likely to transition ownership in the coming decades, and without concerted governmental effort to transition this land to young farmers, and particularly young Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color, this transition will not be equitable. Our coalition stands ready to work with Secretary Vilsack and to hold USDA accountable to ensure that these issues are priorities in the next administration.”
In particular, Young Farmers supports Secretary Vilsack’s stated commitment to addressing the longstanding racial inequities in agriculture and within the USDA. At present, 98% of all farmland is owned by white landowners and 95% of all farmers are white. Building racial equity into agriculture and the USDA means prioritizing the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color in both policy and personnel decisions. We applaud the nomination of many talented and diverse leaders for new roles at USDA, and look forward to seeing the experience and expertise of leaders of color continuing to be recognized.
To ensure that Secretary Vilsack and USDA leadership are informed of the priorities of young farmers, the National Young Farmers Coalition invited Secretary Vilsack to a roundtable discussion with farmer leaders from across the U.S. “Our hope is that hearing directly from young farmers, and in particular young farmers of color, in our coalition about the challenges they face on their farms every day, the impacts of the pandemic, and the structural changes that could help them to build more successful farm businesses, will help influence a new USDA administration that works with a more sustainable, and equitable future for agriculture at front of mind,” said Ackoff.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers fighting for a brighter, more equitable future for U.S. agriculture. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.