In the US, black farmers have fallen from 14% to 1.4%, and they need help | counter currents
About a hundred years ago there were about a million black, or African American, farmers in the United States, today it’s down to only about 45,000. This is one of the most severe declines suffered by any ethnic group anywhere in agriculture. However, this did not receive the attention it deserved, and as a result, remedial procedures were also neglected.
Once African American farmers made up about 14 percent of the total number of farmers in the United States, today they are down to just 1.4 percent. Black farmers own land holdings that are less than a quarter the size of the average land holdings. Hence their share of owned agricultural land is less than that. Only 0.5% of them own agricultural land, compared to their population share of over 13%. Approximately 48% of black farmers’ farms are cattle and dairy farms, not proper agricultural farms.
The land lost by black farming families in the United States during the 20th centuryy The value of the century has been estimated at $326 billion. This estimate was provided by lead author Dr Dania Francis and co-authors of a paper published in the Journal of the American Economic Association.
By comparison, long-running legal cases related to discriminatory practices against black farmers have resulted in these farmers receiving less than $3 billion in claims. Aside from issues of inheritance and land rights, black farmers suffered discriminatory practices by the USDA in matters of credit and technical assistance. On a less obvious level, black farmers also suffer from discriminatory problems and behavior when it comes to marketing their produce.
To get some relief from this discrimination and to provide more equal conditions for African American farmers, the Justice for Black Farmers Act is now being considered.
While clearly deserving of support, this would provide only limited relief by correcting some of the injustices and discriminations, particularly with respect to some prevailing USDA practices. This must be supported, but this cannot be considered adequate in itself and a broader reform agenda must be considered.
The most important feature of the American agricultural landscape in recent decades has been the increasing domination by big commercial interests and the elimination of an increasing number of small farmers, including white farmers. According to official statistics provided by a Congressional Research Service paper titled “Racial Equality in American Agriculture,” the total number of farmers has declined in the past 20 years.y Century increased by 67% but the number of black farmers decreased by a much higher rate.
When the trend is to increase corporate control over farmland and reduce the number of small farmers, black farmers are likely to suffer the most, as the farmers with the least resources and the most vulnerable farmers who suffer in addition to discriminatory practices.
Hence, while the removal of some existing discriminatory practices in and of itself should no doubt be welcomed, the larger struggle for the restoration of land rights by small family farms and by those who actually work the farmland, the real farmers, must continue in When farmland must be liberated from the control of many. Corporate interests and financial interests.
Dogra Bharat He is the honorary organizer of the Save Earth Now campaign. His recent books include “Campaign to Save the Earth Now”. His recent books include India’s Search for Sustainable Agriculture, Healthy Food, Earth Protection for Children and One Day in 2071.
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