Black farmers across the United States will finally receive financial benefits and debt relief, thanks to President Biden’s historic, $1.9 Trillion Covid relief bill. President Biden’s relief law, which has hinged on economic relief for families, includes $4 Billion for Black and BIPOC farmers across the country.
Minority farmers have long struggled to maintain their homes, land and livelihoods. Their historical struggles are a direct result of systemic racial oppression from the failure of Reconstruction and Jim Crow laws.
The 1999 Pigford Decision, in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture grudgingly admitted prejudice against Black farmers, was a turning point that seemed largely symbolic. However, since that decision, little action has been taken to address racial inequities in farming.
Black farmers have been denied loans, faced steep interest rates on debt, and continue having difficulties receiving financial relief services that their White counterparts receive without issue.
President Biden’s economic stimulus, intentionally, offers debt relief to Black farmers, a financial boon that will allow Black farming to continue, just as White farmers who have weathered financial setbacks without losing their homes, land and livelihoods.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that the Covid relief bill “provides historic debt relief to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other farmers of color who for generations have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination and a cycle of debt. We cannot ignore the pain and suffering that this pandemic has wrought in communities of color.”
With this bill, President Biden has once again taken aim at dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy, as he promised to do in his inaugural speech in January.
The financial relief for Black farmers arrives not a minute too soon, according to John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association. “We as Black farmers are facing extinction,” he stated.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott also reminded legislators that Black farmers had been left out of past farming provisions. “It is important for you to know that our Black farmers were not included in the other pieces [of legislation], so we got $4 billion just to help them,” he stated.
Now Black farmers across the U.S. will have a chance to redress the losses engendered not just by systemic oppression but also from Covid, which has decimated face-to-face farmer’s markets and other direct sales.
Black-owned farms, which are typically one-fourth the size of farms owned and operated by white families, will be able to thrive thanks to President Biden’s bill.
According to newly-elected Georgia Senator Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, “This legislation is a major step toward righting some of these injustices, and leveling the playing field for farmers and farming families of color.”
List of Black-owned farms across the country that will continue to provide food and sustenance for consumers and for each other.