THE BLACK AGENDA

Agriculture

A green future for Black America

In 1920, there were nearly one-million Black farmers in the United States. Over the last 100 years, that number has dropped to forty-five thousand, comprising roughly 1.4% of the country’s 3.4 million farmers.1 Between 1920 and 1997 the number of Black farmers shrunk by 98%. Black Americans own only 0.52% of America’s farmland. During the same time, black farmers lost approximately 90% of their land compared to only 2 percent for white farmers.2 The overwhelming majority (95%)2 of farmers are white. The small number of Black farmers that were able to retain possession of their land make less than $40,000 annually, compared to over $190,000 by white farmers.2 This is in part due to the average Black farm being merely one-quarter of the size of the average white farm.2 And while Black farmers innovated many of the farming methods used today in sustainable agriculture, most Black Americans—from land ownership to food production and processing—have been locked out of the industry. The practices of the USDA3 in conjunction with anti-Black terrorism4 are fundamental factors in the decimation of Black farming.

During the Barack Obama Administration, the USDA foreclosed on many Black farmers who had outstanding discrimination complaints,2 many of which were never resolved. New complaints were thrown out and their frequency was misrepresented in reporting. Under the Obama administration, less USDA loan dollars went to Black farmers than under President Bush. 

The crisis faced by Black American farmers can only be rectified by comprehensive, sustained government intervention. We require the following:

  • Land grants for new and existing Black farmers to correct the massive lineage land ownership gap. Black Americans must gain immediate access to land grants comparable to the 160+ acres received by homesteading white Americans. There have been several government policies that assisted white Americans in obtaining land. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided millions of acres for white American ownership; this included white men, white women, and European immigrants. Black Americans, however, were excluded from this massive land grant initiative,
    as well as subsequent land grant initiatives like the Timber Culture Act of 1873, The Kincaid Amendment of 1904, the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909, and the Stock-Raising Homestead Act of 1916. Existing Black farmers must be prioritized to receive land grants and the
    ADOS Matrix must be utilized when prioritizing land grants for new Black farmers.

  • Government-backed, low-interest loans for the building of primary residences on newly granted and currently owned Black farmland. Black Americans must be able to start anew and build on the property they plan to farm.

  • Forgivable farm startup and operating loans. Starting and sustaining a farm is expensive and requires strong infrastructure and funding to succeed. New and existing Black farmers must be undergirded by the support of the U.S. government through continued funding and training.

  • The USDA must audit all major food distributors to ensure ADOS inclusion and fair, comparable pricing for goods produced by Black farmers.

  • A handful of white families own more rural land than all Black Americans combined. To facilitate the full inclusion of Black Americans in the cannabis industry and agriculture overall, farmland must be redistributed as land grants to ADOS via eminent domain, if necessary, until at least 15% of arable land in the United States is owned by ADOS.


References

    1. USDA NASS, 2017 Census of Agriculture https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Highlights/2019/2017Census_Black_Producers.pdf

    2. Sewell, Summer. 2019. “There Were Nearly A Million Black Farmers In 1920. Why Have They Disappeared?”. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/29/why-have-americas-black-farmers-disappeared
       
    3. Rosenberg, Nathan, and Bryce Wilson Stucki. 2019. “How USDA Distorted Data To Conceal Decades Of Discrimination Against Black Farmers | New Food Economy”. The Counter. https://thecounter.org/usda-black-farmers-discrimination-tom-vilsack-reparations-civil-rights/

    4. Philpott, Tom, Kari Sonde, Tom Philpott, Andrea Guzman, and Tom Philpott. 2020. “White People Own 98 Percent Of Rural Land. Young Black Farmers Want To Reclaim Their Share.”. Mother Jones. https://www.motherjones.com/food/2020/06/black-farmers-soul-fire-farm-reparations-african-legacy-agriculture/ 

Learn more about the Black Agenda

Agriculture

Despite being the agricultural experts at the end of Slavery, Black farmers have been historically excluded from agricultural programs.

Black Business

Black America requires investment in business, economic uplift, and employment. Learn more.

Cannabis

For decades, Cannabis was used to incarcerate a disproportionate number of Black Americans.
Repair starts here.

Economics & Labor

Wealth is a major predictor of all outcomes in the US including education and health. Therefore, Black America's decline in wealth must be addressed.

Education

Educational inequalities for Black America must be addressed systematically.

Environmental Racism

Polluted environments harm our communities in America. Learn about our solution to address this issue.

Health & Nutrition

Health is a part of wealth. Our communities have been deprived of access to adequate healthcare for centuries. This inequality must be addressed.

Housing

Redlining and subprime lending practices exacerbated the lineage wealth gap. This inequality must be addressed.

Immigration

Widespread Immigration has been used to suppress Black mobility for decades. We want to provide a more ethical pathway to citizenship.

Infrastructure

The government provides grants for road and public transit projects, utilities, and a host of other capital expenditures. Black America must have access.

The Justice System

Black America has faced unequal outcomes from the justice system for centuries. We want to change current outcomes to more equitable ones.

Voting Rights

Our voting rights are a key tool in our right to self-determination. Black America's right to vote must be protected in order to have true democracy.

Without these measures being instituted, ADOS are locked out of the country our ancestors built during chattel slavery. Without reforms through transformative government, we will be left to continue living a third world life in a first world country.

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