Shirley Sherrod to Return to the USDA

Shirley Sherrod, who resigned last year as Georgia State Director for Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has announced that she will return to the USDA. In 2010, Sherrod was accused by blogger Andrew Breitbart of harboring racial prejudice against white farmers.

Breitbart released a doctored video on his blog, seemingly depicting Sherrod describing her reluctance to help white farmers before she worked for the USDA and implying that she refused to help a struggling white farmer as payback for past instances of racial discrimination. Sherrod was pressured to resign by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Further investigation of the video revealed that the comments were taken out of context, the statements she gave being a story of overcoming racial discrimination. The farmers in question, Roger and Eloise Spooner, recalled that Sherrod was responsible for saving their farm and denied allegations that she was a racist.

Sherrod is going to be hired on to head one of several USDA programs to combat racial discrimination. According to a recent report, the USDA still faces and participates in racial discrimination. In the wake of massive lawsuits by Latino and African American farmers, the department is attempting to combat racism internally, and Sherrod’s new position will seek to rebuild connections with minority famers in the South and Southwest.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer