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

In the last few years, policy efforts have been introduced at the federal and state levels to address this long legacy of harm. The federal Justice for Black Farmers Act is a landmark proposal that would address access to land, training, credit, and much more for Black and other socially-disadvantaged farmers to level the playing field for all farmers.

We convened a webinar with Senator Cory Booker’s office to share how state legislators can support farmer equity in their state.

SiX Takeaways from the Bringing the Justice for Black Farmers Act to the States: 

#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. 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.

#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, reach out and we will be happy to connect you with legislators from multiple states. SiX convenes a working group of state legislators working on farmer equity policy in their state. If you are a state legislator interested in joining reach out to us at [email protected]

If you are a CROP member you can watch the recording of the Bringing the Justice for Black Farmers Act to Your State here. You can also watch the recording of the SiX webinar on Farmer Equity Act: A Policy to Improve Access for Farmers of Color in Your State here. Not a CROP member? As a state legislator you can join here.

If you are a state legislator interested in working on farmer equity issues, reach out to us at [email protected] —we can help!

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.