Black Farmers in America are fighting to save their livelihoods, but that fight is becoming more and more difficult by the day.
Eight months ago, the National Black Farmers Association filed a class action lawsuit against the United States Government. The lawsuit claimed the federal government breached its contract with socially disadvantaged farmers under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was expected to pay off U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans held by 15,000 Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic and Latino farmers.
Last summer, Congress repealed section 1005 of ARPA which provides funding and authorization for the federal government to pay up to 120% of direct and guaranteed loan outstanding balances as of January 1, 2021, for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, breaking the government’s promise and leaving farmers in foreclosure. In September, National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd Jr. filed an appeal stating the money from the American Rescue Plan Act would have made a real difference.
Recently, Boyd Jr. called out the federal government for turning its back on Black farmers.
“It’s a real slap in the face. Here you have American farmers losing their farms and right here in the United States with this. Last year alone, we lost over 10,000 farms in the United States and this administration had done nothing but give us broken promises here,” Boyd Jr. said during an interview with Fox News.
He continued, calling out the Biden Administration, pointing to the aid provided to foreign countries like China and Russia instead of being put back in Black Farmers in the U.S.
“Something is terribly, terribly wrong with this picture and we have to look at what’s really going on. The American farmer is suffering right here, with the highest input costs we’ve had in our nation’s history for America’s farms. We are here struggling, and we’re managing to help countries like China and Russia, America’s two biggest adversaries,” said Boyd Jr.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, today, 45,000 out of the 3.4 million farmers in the United States identify as Black. That’s significantly lower than the 1 million Black farmers who once owned and farmed land in America.
According to Bloomberg, Black farmers lost about $326 billion worth of land in the U.S. due to discrimination during the 20th century.
But, as daunting as the fight seems to be, Black farmers don’t plan on stopping the fight.
“Black and other farmers of color did exactly what the government asked them to do. They maintained or expanded their operations to strengthen America’s food supply during the COVID-19 crisis,” attorney Ben Crump said. “They believed the U.S. government’s promises. They took Congress and the Administration at their word, expecting that the government would pay off their debt, as the USDA promised in writing. Instead, it was 40 acres and a mule all over again, 150 years later – broken promises that doomed generations of Black farmers to become sharecroppers and robbed Black families of billions in intergenerational wealth.”
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