NBA Players Take Their Talents To The Farm With $5 Million Investment In Agriculture

By Sabrina Lynch

  • NBA Players, Kemba Walker and Blake Griffin with around 20 other athletes are purchasing a 104-acre farm in Iowa from a fund of roughly $5M for agricultural investments 
  • With only 45,000 Black farmers working in the U.S., pay parity for African-American Farmers would create $5B in economic value

NBA and NFL players are adding farming to their investment portfolio of business ventures. Basketball stars Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton along with quarterback Joe Burrow have purchased a 104-acre farm in Iowa. The purchase was made from a fund of roughly $5 million for agricultural investments arranged by Patricof Co.

Why This Matters: This isn’t the start of a cliched Hallmark movie about sports stars finding themselves through harvesting in Iowa. The heroes of this story are the farmers who will be leasing the land from the professional athletes to grow corn and soy, tasked with the financial responsibility of delivering a single-digit annual return. 

Unfortunately, the share of Black farmers in the country continues to decline. Shockingly only 1.4% of farmers identify as Black or mixed race. This small group represents less than 0.5% of total US farm sales, alarmingly operating at just 70% of peer-level farm revenue.

Let’s not forget the challenges that climate change brings including reduction of crop yields, lowering livestock productivity. There’s also the marginalization of African-American farmers in extensive agency programs. It’s crystal clear that bureaucracy in agricultural consistencies has not been set up to help People of Color succeed. Perhaps this new approach with professional athletes at the helm can shift his farming dynamic.

Even when farming land is passed down from one generation to the next, African-Americans’ rights are still not fully protected.  Specifically, 60% of Black Americans operate on grounds of heirs’ property (where land is inherited), however if the title is not secure it cannot be used as collateral to grow their farming business. This is one of multiple reasons why the farming trade is waning in Black communities.

Situational Awareness: The inability of Black farmers to fully participate in the land market has resulted in a loss of opportunity for generational wealth creation. Although the Biden administration is desperately trying to make up for decades of racial discrimination and biases in U.S. farming programs, Blake and his business partners’ farm purchases is a step in the right direction to help Black agriculturists get their lives on even keel.

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