skip to main content

Friday, June 9, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Former President Donald J. Trump first ever to face federal charges in 7 count indictment; the Supreme Court strikes down Alabama's Congressional Maps; Canadian wildfires affect the health of humans and wildlife.

play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court upholds a key provision of the Voting Rights Act over Alabama redistricting, smoky skies could spell EPA trouble for some states, and President Biden calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections.

play newscast audioPlay

Rural communities launch projects with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a study says rural transgender adults feel less supported than those in urban areas, and a summer road trip could mean majestic scenic byways or a sprinkling of donut shops.

More Black Farmers Use Farm Service Agency Programs

play audio
Play

Monday, September 12, 2022   

Some farmers of color have been hesitant to interact with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency after a history of discrimination, but owners of one farm in Warfield say they've had a positive experience working the agency.

Herbert Brown Jr., operator of BrownTown Farms in Warfield, works the same land his great-grandfather did in the early 1900s. In 2020, his farm received a grant from the RAFI-USA Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund to purchase a commercial freezer for its jam-making operation. He explained the initial step to access the resources is to get a farm number, and once registered, the agency offers a variety of programs tailored to each farmer's situation.

"Ranging from programs and involve disaster assistance if producers have crop losses, price-support assistance, organic hardship certification," Brown outlined. "Or even a farm storage-facility loan, which will allow producers to have access to capital to fund their food-storage projects."

Last year, the Agriculture Department temporarily suspended past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers. More than 129,000 farmers have received loans through the agency.

Ray Jeffers, farm and outreach specialist for the Rural Advancement Foundation International, said racist practices against farmers of color, including predatory lending, have led to skepticism about the agency among Black farmers. He emphasizes the program's resources can help farms grow and be profitable, and said organizations like his are available to help farmers navigate the process.

"I think the biggest challenge right now is the trust issue," Jeffers acknowledged. "Even going into the office to apply for programs that may help you your farm grow, be more profitable, or help you manage your risk."

Brown pointed out his farm has increased its fruit and vegetable production over the years and expanded its presence in the community through wholesale outlets, helping it beat the odds.

"It's all about creating a regional food system," Brown contended. "Distributing food to those who are in need and those who desire to 'eat fresh.' "

Black-operated farms accounted for around four million acres of farmland, just 0.5% of the U.S. total, according to 2019 data from the Agriculture Department.

Disclosure: The Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environmental Justice, Rural/Farming, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Guns to Gardens volunteers in New Hampshire are working against what are considered among the weakest gun laws in the country. State law does not require background checks on all gun sales, or limit access to firearms by people in crisis. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Community volunteers in New Hampshire are turning unwanted firearms into garden tools as part of a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence. Under …


Social Issues

play sound

Parents and educators in the Houston Independent School District said they are all for improving schools but do not believe a state takeover by an une…

Social Issues

play sound

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling on a 5-to-4 vote Thursday, deciding Alabama's 2022 congressional maps violated the Voting Rights …


Alaska has more than 322 million acres of public lands, more than three times the acreage of the entire state of California. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

The Bureau of Land Management has announced a $161 million investment in habitat and wildland restoration projects in 11 western states. Alaska is …

Environment

play sound

As smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets New York and much of the East Coast, it's causing a wide range of health effects - and not just for people…

Connexus Energy operates a 'solar meadow' at its headquarters in Ramsey, Minn. (Photo courtesy of Fresh Energy)

Environment

play sound

By Elizabeth Hewitt for Reasons to be Cheerful.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Net…

Social Issues

play sound

To fight such pressing issues as housing shortages and increasing crime rates in cities across the country, many of the nation's mayors are taking …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As part of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, mental-health advocates in Iowa are sharing information about Alzheimer's and say two new drugs …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021