Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers
Studies have shown that people of color farmers and farm workers receive fewer benefits from U.S. farm programs compared with their white counterparts. In 2000, people of color made up approximately 18 percent of the U.S. population and 5 percent of all farmers, but received a much smaller share of federal farm benefits.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) supports the work of the Rural Coalition and members of the Diversity Initiative of the Farm and Food Policy Project who took the lead to increase support for socially disadvantaged producers in the 2008 Farm Bill, including:
- a significant increase in funding for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (also known as the “Section 2501 Program”) which provides grants to land-grant institutions and community-based organizations who provide training and assistance for people of color farmers and ranchers;
- new language in the Risk Management Education Program so that there is a special emphasis on grants for risk management education projects aimed at assisting beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; funding was held constant.
In addition, NSAC and its allies successfully made other changes in the 2008 Farm Bill that benefit socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including:
- Down Payment loans that are now available to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers even if they are not beginning farmers;
- a pilot program from the 2002 Farm Bill, Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Contract Land Sales Program, was turned into a nationwide, permanent program to assist in the transfer of farms from retiring farmers to new farmers;
- revised authority for Conservation Loans, with a special emphasis on beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers,
- a new land-purchase or land-lease transfer program, the CRP Transition Option for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, and
- Conservation Funding Set Asides and Payment Incentives for Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers to improve access and participation in conservation programs by beginning and socially disadvantage producers.
To read the Spanish version of the Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill (Guía para Movimientos de Base de la Ley Agrícola de 2008), click here.