+ ++ USDA Sec. Vilsack still owes an apology and swift action to discriminated Hispanic farmers | Latina Lista

USDA Sec. Vilsack still owes an apology and swift action to discriminated Hispanic farmers

USDA Sec. Vilsack still owes an apology and swift action to discriminated Hispanic farmers

LatinaLista -- What happened to Shirley Miller Sherrod and the swiftness of her firing at the hands of her boss Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was an outrage. Yet, what was a bigger outrage was the reason Vilsack gave the press for doing what he did:


Vilsack said he had been focused on trying to address "the longstanding history of civil rights claims made against the department," and that he was acting in the spirit of trying to eliminate discrimination within the USDA. He referenced the "tens of thousands" of civil rights claims made against the USDA by minority and female farmers. 

Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack

If that sentiment was even remotely true then Vilsack would have resolved by now the court case pending against the USDA in Garcia v. Vilsack, where Hispanic farmers have been forced to go to court to get the USDA to compensate for the years of discrimination levied against them through the agency's farm credit and non-credit farm benefit programs. The federal discrimination has impacted over 80,000 Hispanic farmers. Some have even lost their farms because of biased agents working for the USDA.

"We have been repeatedly and systematically discriminated against by USDA's farm loan program," said Modesta Salazar of Pearsall, Texas and a named plaintiff in the lawsuit. "The Secretary may think that things are improving- but they are not. Nothing has changed. The situation is as bad as ever and our Hispanic farmers are suffering because of this Administration's policies."

Rightfully, 24 hours after learning the full extent of his mistake, Sec. Vilsack issued a "profound" apology to Ms. Sherrod and offered her a new position. It helped that mainstream media exposed the real story putting pressure on the White House to make sure things got fixed.

Unfortunately, Hispanic farmers aren't getting this kind of mainstream exposure but they deserve a long overdue apology and just as swift a solution to their case as well -- if Sec. Vilsack is truly sincere in eliminating discrimination within the USDA and righting a wrong that is still ongoing.



More in Economy


In only five years, Latinos will account for over 40% of the increase in U.S. employment

Latina ListaFebruary 25, 2015
Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 3.59.27 PM

Native-born Latinos now outnumber Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. workforce

Latina ListaJune 19, 2014

New economic report on women reveals fundamental flaw in society that bears bipartisan blame

Latina ListaJanuary 13, 2014
United States federal government shutdown

If you think you’re safe from Washington’s dsyfunction and the federal shutdown — think again!

Latina ListaOctober 9, 2013
Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 12.54.53 PM

Video: Veteran organizer Marshall Ganz shares his memories of working for social change with Cesar Chavez

Marisa TreviñoMay 14, 2013

The GOP made it official. War on Latinos, gays, the poor and — working women!

Marisa TreviñoJune 5, 2012

The browning of America doesn’t hold up in losing job market

Marisa TreviñoJune 1, 2012

Immigration reform proposal brings all immigrant laborers into the conversation

Marisa TreviñoMay 15, 2012

FL farmworkers on hunger strike asking why Publix won’t sign on to Fair Food Campaign

Marisa TreviñoMarch 9, 2012