By CultureBanx Team
- 45K African American farmers need financial relief from the impact of the pandemic
- $23.5B is earmarked in aid for farmers from the CARES act
There are 45,000 African American farmers who remain in need of financial relief from the impact of the pandemic, as markets they sold to have closed. Black operated farms have historically found themselves excluded from, and often harmed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. Will the $23.5 billion earmarked in aid for farmers from the CARES act, reach Black farmers during this crisis?
Why This Matters: About 60% of African American farmers operate on land that has been passed down through the generations. The USDA isn’t doing much to ensure African American farmers who have inherited their land but don’t have clear titles are able to access federal assistance. Without a clear title to the land, black farmers “have historically been shut out of nearly every USDA program, including disaster assistance,” according to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. A provision in the 2018 Farm Bill was designed to help address this problem, but it has not yet been implemented.
Historically, Black farmers have lost millions in acres and billions in wealth, in part due to being shut out of loans and assistance
Most Black owned farms in rural areas lack access to broadband internet, making it even more difficult to apply for federal aid. Also, there’s little information provided by the USDA to basic questions, including what the eligibility requirements are for the $23.5 billion in stimulus funds, how a small farmer can apply, and what it’s doing to share information with small rural farmers who don’t have decent internet services.
When we look back at history, even if Black farmers were able to get access to these funds, the amount they might receive is disappointing. During the Trump administration’s trade war with China farmer assistance only benefited a few of the big farms. Specifically, a Freedom Of Information Act document revealed that more than 99% of approximately $8 billion in trade war assistance went to white farm operators.
Situational Awareness: Historically, Black farmers have lost millions in acres and billions in wealth, in part due to being shut out of loans and assistance. Unfortunately, Black farm ownership has significantly decreased, with their acreage being reduced from 16 million to 2 million, and most of that land loss has occurred during the past 70 years.
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