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Fact Check: Was the Secretary of Agriculture Arrested?
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Fact Check: Was the Secretary of Agriculture Arrested?

No, nor was he part of a plot to sabotage America’s food supplies.

A viral article from Real Raw News claims that the military arrested U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack on April 26, “after connecting him to the calculated destruction of a dozen agricultural processing facilities across the United States.” The Real Raw News story claims an increase in fires across agricultural processing plants was part of a larger, deliberate plan to create a food shortage. 

Both these claims are false. Vilsack was not arrested, and as Lead Stories and Reuters reported, food processing plants have not suspiciously caught fire and are not linked to a plan to deliberately cause a food shortage. 

A spokesperson for the United States Department of Agriculture told The Dispatch Fact Check via email that the claim that the military arrested Vilsack is false.

Vilsack has also been active on Twitter, tweeting from his official account since the alleged arrest on April 26. He tweeted as recently as Monday morning. 

Real Raw News, which has a history of publishing baseless stories about arrests and executions, displays a disclaimer on its website: “Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on [sic] legal counsel.”

We have previously fact checked several false stories from Real Raw News, including the claim that Navy SEALs pledged loyalty to Donald Trump and arrested Hillary Clinton on March 4, 2021, and that Dr. Anthony Fauci was arrested by U.S. special forces last month. We also reported on the viral story that a Navy pilot’s landing mishap was due to a COVID-19 vaccine reaction. 

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.