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House Ag Hearing Focuses on Black Farmers

The House Agriculture Committee held a historic hearing Thursday reviewing the state of Black farmers in the United States. The hearing detailed decades of systemic racism and discrimination against Black Farmers by the Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers, “We will over the next four years do everything we can to root out whatever systemic racism and barriers that may exist at the Department of Agriculture.” House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott called the hearing “a public way to address the deep distrust that many of our farmers of color feel” towards USDA. In prepared remarks, John Boyd, Founder and President of the National Black Farmers Association, stated, “Rather than right these historic wrongs, government programs have largely perpetuated systemic racism.” Boyd points to research that shows 99 percent of the recent Market Facilitation Program payments went to white farmers, along with 97 percent of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Boyd added that the result of decades of discrimination is that Black farms are smaller, and their revenues are smaller.

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