Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Sid Salter: Biden's Ag Choice Good for Mississippi

President-elect Joe Biden’s choice of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as his U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary should bode well for Mississippi farmers whose agriculture production value was $7.35 billion in 2020.

As a former mayor, state legislator, governor, and dairy industry advocate, Vilsack brings a wealth of experience to the job. He served eight years as the head of USDA during the administration of President Barack Obama. The Biden appointment will position Vilsack to become the second longest-serving USDA secretary since fellow Iowan James Wilson headed the agency from 1897 to 1913.

Vilsack, 69, is no stranger to Mississippi.

During his prior tenure at the helm of USDA, Vilsack toured the devastation of the 2011 F5 tornado that slammed Smithville and other Mississippi and Alabama communities. Vilsack joined then-Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Department of Human Services Secretary Janet Napolitano, former Federal Emergency Administrator Craig Fugate, Small Business Administration head Karen Mills, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donavan.

Vilsack in 2013 inspected several U.S. Department of Agriculture research projects being conducted on the Starkville campus of Mississippi State University and joined MSU President Mark Keenum for a press conference after the tour. Vilsack also met with students from the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine during his MSU visit.In 2013, Vilsack met with members of the National Center for Appropriate Technology Gulf States Region office at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum in Jackson. Vilsack spoke to the need for funding for small farmers and agricultural research, the U.S. Farm Bill, and financing for farmers and health needs in the Mississippi Delta.

Vilsack announced grants for the Miss. Association of Cooperatives, the Miss. Meat Goat Producers, among other grower cooperatives, and qualified producers under the Disadvantaged Producer program.

In 2015, Vilsack announced 53 grants totaling more than $18 million to support research, teaching, and extension activities in 1890 historically Black land-grant colleges and universities through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Alcorn State University received just over $1 million.

Mississippi remains deeply involved with the agriculture industry. Despite the state’s poultry and forestry industries taking a substantial hit from COVID-19 issues, flooding, tornadoes, and other impacts, the state’s economy remains dependent on agricultural production and further processing.

Vilsack’s nomination met with criticism from the political left and one leading Biden supporter who either wanted new blood in the position or who felt it was time for a qualified member of the Black community to lead the agency.

 U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, whose endorsement of Biden in South Carolina was critical to Biden’s resurgence in the Democratic primaries, is one of those voices.

“I’m sick and tired of people saying that rural America is only Nebraska and Iowa,” Clyburn told The New York Post recently. “Rural America is South Carolina; it’s Mississippi, it’s Alabama. It’s Georgia,” Clyburn said of southern states with a vast number of rural Black residents.

But strong voices across the agriculture industry, particularly trade groups, praised Vilsack’s selection – saying his experience in leading the sprawling agency is vital in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While leading USDA, Vilsack appointed Keenum to the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) board of directors that Keenum now chairs. FFAR was created by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill to connect farmers, researchers and funding sources through public-private partnership.

Keenum, a former USDA undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services who was closely involved with crafting U.S. farm policy during his Capitol Hill days before taking the helm at MSU, said he believed Vilsack is “an excellent choice at a challenging time.”

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Sid failed to mention Visak's push to put a tax on Christmas trees-look it up.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Roundsaville exited his State USDA post just in time..... people like him always turn up "with a high paid post".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Biden's people will turn our agriculture industry into government farms, completely controlled by the feds. Venezuela/Cuba here we come.

You fuck heads who voted for Biden can bend over and grab your ankles, and get used to it. Squeel!

Anonymous said...

8:50 You are so so correct. Now, Bennie will be back in control of handing out highly paid federal positions in Mississippi to political cronies on the other side. It is the spoils of victory to the winner. And, of course all positions will be awarded based on education, experience, skill, etc. (NOT!).

Anonymous said...

@10:57 AM: "It is the spoils of victory to the winner. And, of course all positions will be awarded based on education, experience, skill, etc. (NOT!)."

Yes, so different from the Trump administration, which valued education, experience, skill, .....wait a minute..... (NOT!)

Anonymous said...

@10:48 AM
You talk like it’s a bad thing. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Why always mention Cuba and Venezuela?

Perhaps they will recreate the successes in Vietnam and China? Communism has been incredibly successful in both nations. Vietnam even defeated the USA in war.

Meanwhile, capitalism in the USA has done nothing but provide a continuously declining way of life with a regular boom/bust cycle that never seems to affect the elite ruling class or central bankers. Only an ignorant American who has never been abroad truly believes that Americans have the highest standard of living in the world.

Anonymous said...

America has the highest standards of corn syrup and ethanol subsidies in the world! Taxpayers hand over more money per farmer and per acre than any nation on this planet! And food prices still rise! You name an industry and it is socialized. Oil? Subsidized. Banking? You better believe that the profits are private and the loses are public! And Big Tech? You bet your ass the US Government pays Amazon billions to use their AWS servers and meanwhile intelligence agencies pay for the privilege to mine social media data.

Anonymous said...

@11:12, funny how you communists would get real capitalist if I were to load my pants up with organic, fair trade, blue mountain coffee at Cups and try to walk out without paying

Anonymous said...

Why is it illegal in this state to buy or sell frog legs, bass, bream, crappie or buffalo? There's a huge market being purposefully ignored and it all falls under Ag.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS