Payment Program for Farmers of Color Underway
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack traveled to Georgia to announce the start of the $4 billion relief program for Black farmers and other socially disadvantaged farmers to pay off outstanding USDA loans.
The USDA said that about 16,000 minority farmers who borrowed money directly from USDA appear to have qualified for the debt relief, while 2,900 are qualified for relief for bank loans that were guaranteed by USDA.
Vilsack was joined by Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and Representative Sanford Bishop who fought for the program in DC to assist farmers who have been discriminated against, something Vilsack acknowledged.
Vilsack: “ ...the reality is we’ve been dealing with these issues for an incredibly long period of time. And the Department of Agriculture has a lot of work to do.”
In the 2017 census, the US had 48,697 producers who identified as black, either alone or in combination with another race. They accounted for 1.4 percent of the country’s 3.4 million producers, and they lived and farmed primarily in southeastern and mid-Atlantic states.
Black producers were older and more likely to have served or to be serving in the military than U.S. producers overall. Their farms were smaller, and their agriculture sales value was less than 1 percent of the U.S. total.
The census showed that Alabama had 4,208 farmers of color, Georgia had 2,870 and Florida is home to 2,448 farmers of color.