Skip to main content

To: President and Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack & the Democrats on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Black & Indigenous Farmers Need Emergency Debt Relief

Black & Indigenous Farmers Need Emergency Debt Relief

We urge Secretary Vilsack and the Democrats on the Senate Committee on Agriculture to continue its vigorous defense of the USDA emergency debt relief program for Black farmers, Indigenous farmers and farmers of color.

Click here to read NBFJA's full public comment to the USDA in support of the program: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18rDgNMAVvRVzfA0Dj4c8xRi5wkrAtl6O1SYqd-Ex5s0/edit

Why is this important?

Black farmers need emergency debt relief now. Over the past century, Black people have lost over 12 million acres of land and today, Black farmers account for less than 2% of all land-owning producers in the United States. And in the midst of a public health crisis that has sped up corporate greed and left millions of Black people houseless and food insecure, Black farmers continue to lose their land at faster rates than any other group. But we have the opportunity to change that. Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color continue to experience discrimination with respect to the requirements, availability, and timing of loans, as well as denial of access to USDA resources based on race. Billions of dollars in federal aid, including 97% of the most recent aid given in response to COVID-19, have gone disproportionately to large-scale white farmers, as well as to a handful of agribusiness corporations. As a result, many Black farmers and farmers of color still struggle to access and hold on to land, making it difficult for them to continue to get fair returns on their labor and investments. But this year, Congress created an emergency debt relief program that could be a crucial intervention -- allowing Black farmers, Indigenous farmers, and farmers of color to finally begin to see a fair return on their investment & labor. Debt relief helps small and medium farmers stay in business, keep their land and continue to feed nutritious food to communities across the country as we recover from the pandemic. If you believe in Black people’s right to self-determination, will you leave the Senate Committee on Agriculture a message of support for debt relief for Black farmers, and other farmers of color today?

This is the message we’ll send:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

As someone that believes that all people, no matter what we look like or where we come from, deserve a fair return on our labor and investment in our work, I am writing in support of debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers. Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act, stipulates that this debt relief is critical to Black, Indigenous, and other farmers and ranchers of color due to:

-decades of racial discrimination in USDA programs;
-the failure of the U.S. government to ensure adequate funding reached farmers of color in other relief efforts — even though billions reached White farmers; and
-disproportionate COVID-19 impacts on farmers of color.

Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color continue to experience discrimination with respect to the requirements, availability, and timing of loans, as well as denial of access to USDA resources based on race. As a result, many farmers of color still struggle to access and hold on to land, making it difficult for them to continue to get fair returns on their labor and investments.

Debt relief helps small and medium farmers stay in business, keep their land and continue to feed nutritious food to communities across the country as we recover from the pandemic. I urge you to continue your support of initiatives like debt relief that call for greater equity in agriculture for Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color.


Reasons for signing

  • Because it's been a long time coming
  • It took an act of Congress to get it this far. Please do the right thing and get this passed in the courts!
  • Fair and just

Updates

2021-11-14 04:51:38 -0800

5,000 signatures reached

2021-10-16 00:55:44 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2021-10-15 16:26:10 -0700

500 signatures reached

2021-10-15 15:04:52 -0700

100 signatures reached

2021-10-15 15:01:12 -0700

50 signatures reached

2021-10-15 14:59:40 -0700

25 signatures reached

2021-10-15 14:58:07 -0700

10 signatures reached