Throughout Black History Month, we’ve seen energy and enthusiasm to uplift Black stories. While Black History Month has ended, we’d like to encourage that energy of highlighting Black stories in our food system. For decades, Black farmers have contributed to our food system while enduring social and economic inequities. Justice for Black Farmers Act.
Over 100 years, the amount of Black-owned farmland dropped by 90% due to higher rates of loan and credit denials, lack of legal and industry support, and discriminatory tactics that have denied farmers from receiving federal loans to maintain and improve their farm operations. Over the years, class action lawsuits from Black, Native American, Hispanic, and women farmers have been filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They all alleged, through various years of examples, that the USDA discriminated against them by denying them access to low-interest rate loans and loan servicing, grant programs and assistance, causing them hundreds of millions of dollars in economic loss and record-breaking land loss through foreclosures. Today, Black farmers continue to face challenges, are not equally compensated, and face financial burdens and/or loss of business.
The Justice for Black Farmers Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senator Cory Booker in 2020 and is now being reintroduced, aims to address and correct historic discrimination within federal farm assistance and lending in the USDA. These practices have caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of farmland and robbed Black farmers and their families of the hundreds of billions of dollars of intergenerational wealth that land represented.
To read more and contact your Senator and tell them to support this bill, visit: Justice for Black Farmers
Today, on March 1, 2023, Black farmers, their allies, and supporters will gather at the White House to commemorate March 2, 1999, Pigford v. Glickman Fairness Hearing Debacle, the class action racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Black legacy farmers against the USDA for decades of anti-Black racism in the delivery of loans, subsidies, disaster assistance, and other program benefits. Though this case reached a settlement agreement and consent decree, only 4.8 percent of the $1 billion Pigford Settlement went to partial debt cancellation to those black farmers. Justice for Black Farmers is needed to end discrimination, support and protect current black farmers and nurture a new generation of farmers.
More information on the Justice for Black Farmers demonstration, press events, and meetings with elected officials is available here.
Other related articles:
- Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign | Acres of Ancestry Initiative
- In 2022, Black farmers were persistently left behind from the USDA’s loan system
- Black Farmers Have Been Robbed of Land. A New Bill Would Give Them a “Quantum Leap” Toward Justice. – Mother Jones
- Black farmers call for justice from the USDA