Biden administration steps up debt relief program to help black farmers

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Representative James E. Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina who was instrumental in helping Mr. Biden secure the party’s presidential nomination, was also a major voice highlighting the experience of black farmers and was instrumental in helping Mr. Biden win the party’s presidential nomination. the implementation of stimulus measures, according to Congress staff. .

The funding aims to address long-standing issues of discrimination at the Department of Agriculture – particularly its refusal to give farmers of color the same access to capital that helped defeat white farmers during tough times of the world. story. Minority farmers faced other problems, such as a lack of access to legal services which complicated agricultural inheritances, and a lack of public investment in rural and on-reserve communities, especially in the ‘water supply and roads and transport to bring agricultural products to market.

These factors have resulted in a substantial loss of land. As the number of farmers in the United States has fallen sharply over the past century as farms mechanize and more people find work in factories and offices, black farmers have suffered dramatically. disproportionate.

According to data from the Department of Agriculture, in 1920 there were 925,708 black farmers in the United States, or 14 percent of the nation’s farmers. But in 2017, only 35,470 of the country’s more than two million farms were run by black producers, or 1.7 percent.

Joe Patterson, 70, whose family has operated a farm in the Mississippi Delta for decades, said discriminatory loans had forced many black farmers around him out of business over the years and led to periods of welding for his own family.

“Ultimately, it was the lack of funds that reduced black farmers,” said Patterson, who spoke by phone from the cab of a tractor he had parked on the side of the road. . “If we had the same investment as other farmers, a lot of black farmers would still be farming on that date. “

He added: “But because they didn’t have those funds, every year would get worse and worse.”

Anthony Daniels, a Democrat in the Alabama state legislature who sits on the board of directors of One Country Project, a Democratic group focused on rural issues, said many black farmers are still suffering from severe debt and that the stimulus provisions would help them repay their loans. and related taxes.

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