1. Black farmers have been systematically discriminated against. Due, in part, to racist and discriminatory policies at USDA, Black farmers have lost their farms, their land, and intergenerational wealth, totaling upwards of one trillion dollars. The Justice for Black Farmers Act is the most robust, wide ranging bill to address the historical discrimination of Black Farmers ever.
2. The four pillars for the Justice for Black Farmers Act are 1) End discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA); 2) Protect Black farmers with programs such as access to capital, foreclosure moratorium, debt forgiveness; 3) A land grant program to help Black farmers obtain land; 4) Broad systems reform to ensure all farmers survive and thrive.
3. While the Justice for Black Farmers Act is a federal bill, many of the principles can be replicated at the state level. Discriminatory and racist policies didn’t just happen at the federal level—they happened in state institutions and by private individuals as well.
4. One immediate step that you can take is to see if your state has passed a Partition of Heirs Property Act. This is a bill that helps preserve family wealth passed to the next generation in the form of real property. Another step you can take is to enact policy to end discrimination and ensure equity at your state’s Department of Agriculture. (Check out our webinar on Farmer Equity Here).
5. Remember that many of the organizations that work with Black farmers are not represented in the statehouse by traditional agribusiness organizations like the Farm Bureau. It is critical when working on any policy that the people impacted be at the table. If you don’t know who in your state is working with these farmers, contact us and we can help you connect.
6. There is a lot of interest to work on state bills to support Black Farmers around the country. If you are interested, let us know and we will connect you with legislators from multiple states so that we can start a more network-wide conversation.