For Immediate Release
A broad coalition of farm, environment, food safety and animal welfare organizations sent a letter to the Biden transition team today endorsing Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) as the next Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The letter, organized by the advocacy groups Food & Water Action and Family Farm Action, called Fudge “a skilled and compassionate leader of unparalleled reputation and integrity” who has “long been an ally to farmers, food-chain workers, consumers, and rural communities.”
In recent days, progressive groups have coalesced around Fudge as the strongest candidate to lead the Department of Agriculture. They cite her leadership on measures to strengthen protections for slaughterhouse workers, and her opposition to industry efforts to increase line speeds at processing plants. Fudge has also been an ally of family-scale farms and regional food systems, and is an advocate for communities historically underserved by the USDA. Rep. Fudge was also a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s scheme to slash Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, calling it a “war on people in need.”
“Now more than ever, we need a champion like Rep. Fudge to restore common-sense food safety standards in America,” said Food & Water Action Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “She has been an unsung hero of our food system workers, who are forced to deal with some of the most dangerous working conditions of any industry in the country.”
“Independent family farmers in Iowa are calling for Rep. Fudge as the next Secretary of Agriculture,” said Adam Mason, State Policy Organizing Director at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “Family farmers know we need a different direction, one in which USDA takes on seed and chemical mega-mergers and the lack of competition in livestock markets. Industrial agri-businesses have been writing the rules for too long, and we believe we can work with Rep. Fudge at USDA to change that.”
Joe Maxwell, President of Family Farm Action stated, “Congresswoman Fudge has a vision for our food and agriculture system that is inclusive of America’s farmers, food chain workers, and local and regional businesses. What we need in a USDA Secretary is a leader who will root out the historical discrimination within the department’s farm programs, who will lift up all farmers not with government handouts but with markets that work, who will work to restore food security for all families, and who will restore Abraham Lincoln’s vision for the department as ‘The People’s Department.’”
“It is high time for a Secretary of Agriculture who is not beholden to Big Ag. Rep. Fudge has a strong track record of fighting for those on the front lines of our monopolized food systems; including workers, independent farmers and ranchers, and Black, Latinx, indigenous, and other communities of color,” said Barry Lynn, Executive Director at Open Markets Institute. “Fudge can help reverse years of Wall Street-backed exploitation and consolidation, address the systemic racism that has long warped American farm policy, and create a more equitable, competitive, and safe food system for all.”