Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.

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The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

Collective Works to Boost FSA Registration Among Ohio’s Black Farmers

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023   

Many of Ohio's urban farmers and farmers of color are locked out of USDA programs because they are not registered with their local Farm Service Agency, according to local advocates.

Chad Anderson, Columbus' Urban Farmers Coalition Executive Director said most Black farmers are unaware that an FSA number unlocks the doors to funding, tools and opportunities needed to run a successful agriculture business. The coalition has helped two farmers register, with six more in the process, he said.

"The two farmers that we have that are registered have been able to get access to grant opportunities, they've been able to get access to loans that have low interest rates. And then they've also been able to tap into a network of resources," Anderson said.

Without an FSA number, Black farmers are excluded from the state's Agricultural census, which is used to allocate resources, Anderson added. Federal farm aid programs have historically discriminated against farmers of color. According to a 2019 report from the Center for American Progress, Black farmers lost 80% of their land from 1910 to 2007, because of USDA and other agency lending and aid practices the center calls racist.

August Taylor, farm resource access specialist with Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, explained FSAs can help farms grow and be profitable, and added advocacy groups are available to help farmers navigate the process, offering agents who can talk to farmers directly about their crop goals, business practices and land operations.

"It's really important that you contact your local FSA office," Taylor said. "There are USDA Service Centers in almost every county in Ohio. So the first thing you have to do is call and set up an appointment with them."

Black-operated farms account for about 4-million acres of farmland, just one-half of 1% of the U.S. total, according to 2019 data from the USDA.


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