Funding and Loan Assistance To Disadvantaged Farmers in COVID Relief Bill
Congress passed the latest COVID-19 relief package which included significant assistance for US farmers from socially disadvantaged groups, including Black farmers, women farmers, and non-Black farmers of color.
The final version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed the House on March 10th and President Biden signed it into law a day later. The bill includes provisions for the latest stimulus package for citizens, as well as resources for the healthcare industry and states.
But the increased support for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers included in the package is getting less attention. The bill establishes assistance for disadvantaged farmers to pay off farm loans, access training, and other resources. It also directs a portion of funds to equity commissions that will address racial equity issues within the Department of Agriculture.
Diversity in agriculture, including a strong population of family-owned and operated farms, is integral to a resilient and sustainable food system that values people, animals, and the planet. Marginalized communities that have been disenfranchised for centuries have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, increasing attention to the myriad systemic inequities that exist today.
World Animal Protection is calling on Congress and the Biden administration to continue to prioritize equity and ensure that America’s diverse rural communities have access to the tools and resources they need to build successful farm businesses. Among other important efforts, we request that Congress includes increased funding for supporting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in the 2023 Farm Bill.
Additionally, we urge the House and Senate to pass the Justice for Black Farmers Act. The bill would be a first step toward addressing the history of discrimination in our nation’s agricultural policy and encourage a new generation of Black farmers.
World Animal Protection proudly endorses the Justice for Black Farmers Act as an important step toward ending the inequalities that have caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of farmland and robbed Black farmers and their families of hundreds of billions of dollars of inter-generational wealth.
As a global organization, our vision is to create a world where respect for animals and nature sits at the heart of our food system, which is equitable, sustainable, resilient, and capable of feeding the world. We acknowledge that this vision is not achievable in the United States without addressing the systemic inequalities that plague this country. A food system based on humane and sustainable farming must also be rooted in justice and equity. Only then can we build something that works for everyone.