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ICYMI: Bringing the Justice for Black Farmers Act to the States

We had a great Bringing the Justice for Black Farmers Act to the States webinar.  We had an incredible line up of panelists and we are already hearing that there is a lot of enthusiasm from legislators across the country to introduce state versions of the bill.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch it here (passcode is SiXAg!#6). If you are interested in digging in with a group of colleagues to work on a version of the Justice for Black Farmers Act in your state, please let us know, as we are working to pull together a working group of legislators to start the conversation.

Below you’ll find our SiX Main Takeaways and resources referenced or shared in the webinar.

SiX Main Takeaways 

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.

Additional Resources

U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s Justice for Black Farmers Act

Uniform Law Commission’s Partition of Heirs Property Act. If you would like to pursue this in your state, we have many resources for you. Please reach out to Kendra.

South Carolina’s House Bill 3543 to establish the Black Farmer Restoration Program.

Book recommendations by our panelist, Dara Cooper, national organizer with the National Black Food and Justice Alliance:
“Freedom Farmers” by Dr. Monica White
“Collective Courage” by Jessica Gordon Nembhard

Attached: Slides from Professor Thomas Mitchell

Join the Cohort for Rural Opportunity and Prosperity (CROP)

If you have follow up questions or need information, please reach out to Kendra and she will gladly work to get you what you need or connect you with experts on the subject matter.

Sign up for the CROP!

The Cohort for Rural Opportunity and Prosperity (CROP) serves as a virtually convening space for legislators who are working on policies that promote healthy and thriving rural communities through ecologically and socially-responsible agriculture and local, direct-market food systems.