02/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/27/2021 15:58
WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week, Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Vice Chair of the House's Committee on Agriculture, introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2021, a comprehensive bill to address the sordid history of discrimination in federal agricultural policy, in the United States House of Representatives. The Justice for Black Farmers Act will reform the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provide debt relief and create a land grant program to encourage a new generation of Black farmers.
'I'm proud to be joined by my colleagues and numerous organizations in support of the Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2021, which would enact policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect the 50,000 remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers and restore the land base that has been lost.' said Vice Chair Alma Adams. 'Additionally, the Justice For Black Farmers Act of 2021 provides substantial resources for 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to help Black farmers get up and running and includes funding for all HBCUs to expand their agriculture research and courses of study. This is critically urgent legislation that corrects a grave injustice and encourages and empowers the next generation of Black farmers.'
'I am pleased to join the effort to bring long sought justice to America's Black farmers by co-leading the Justice for Black Farmers Act,' said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. 'In the United States, due to a long history of discrimination, it is estimated that there are less than 50,000 remaining Black farmers. This bill will end discrimination within USDA, Protect Remaining Black Farmers from Land Loss, Restore the Land Base Lost by Black Farmers, and forgive the USDA debt of Black farmers who filed claims in the Pigford litigation; and help mitigate the harms done to Black farmers, which at one point in our history numbered more than a 1 million, including 95 pre-Civil War farming settlements in Ohio, according to historian Anna-Lisa Cox. I find the timing of this legislation especially compelling since its being introduced during Black History month during the 50thAnniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus. I will continue to fight for Black farmers, while paying homage to their rich legacy, utilizing Our Power, and Our Message.'
Original cosponsors in the House include Representatives Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Danny Davis (IL-07), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Al Lawson (FL-05), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Stacey Plaskett (VI-AL), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Bobby Rush (IL-01), and Terri Sewell (AL-07). Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) previously introduced the legislation in the United States Senate.
'Overtly discriminatory and unjust federal policy has robbed Black families in the United States of the ability to build and pass on intergenerational wealth,' said Senator Cory Booker. 'When it comes to farming and agriculture, we know that there is a direct connection between discriminatory policies within the USDA and the enormous land loss we have seen among Black farmers over the past century. The Justice for Black Farmers Act will address and correct USDA discrimination and take bold steps to forgive debt and restore the land that has been lost in order to empower a new generation of Black farmers to succeed and thrive.'
Over 100 organizations have voiced their support for the legislation. A full list of organizations supporting the legislation is available here.
Specifically, the Justice for Black Farmers Act will:
Congresswoman Alma Adams represents North Carolina's 12th Congressional District (Charlotte) and serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additionally, she serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In 2015, she founded the Adams Hunger Initiative to address food insecurity across Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the 12th Congressional District.