The legislation to provide direct relief to farmers of color has broad and growing support across every aspect of American food, agriculture and rural communities
Senator Reverend Warnock: Considering the urgent need for this funding, and the overwhelming support this proposal has garnered from across the agricultural community, we can’t get this relief passed and out the door quickly enough”
Washington, D.C. – Today, over 600 leading food companies, racial equity leaders, and farm organizations have come together to support the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, led by U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA). The legislation, which is included in the American Rescue Plan Act, delivers direct relief to Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic farmers and other agricultural producers of color to help them respond to the devastating consequences of the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, as well as address longstanding inequity in agriculture.
“This once-in-a-century pandemic, and the economic downturn that followed, has revealed and exacerbated long-standing disparities in our government that have left certain communities behind, particularly Black farmers and farmers of color,” said Senator Warnock. “This legislation is a major step toward righting some of these injustices, and leveling the playing field for farmers and farming families of color to help them not only recover from the devastation of these crises, but give them the tools and assistance to thrive that they’ve long been denied. Considering the urgent need for this funding, and the overwhelming support this proposal has garnered from across the agricultural community, we can’t get this relief passed and out the door quickly enough.”
The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act would provide $5 billion to America’s Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and farmers of color who, in addition to being hard-hit by the current public health and economic emergencies, have long struggled to keep their farms and ownership of their land in rural communities due to longstanding discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other government agencies. In addition to Senator Warnock, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
The legislation has the support of over 600 leaders and organizations including:
- Major food companies and popular brands, including Danone, Nestle, Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, Kellogg, Del Monte, Coca-Cola, Clif Bar, Ben & Jerry’s, Chobani, KIND, Stonyfield, King Arthur, and Cabot Creamery;
- Agricultural racial equity champions, including the National Black Farmers Association, Rural Coalition, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives;
- Farm groups and companies, including the National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, American Farm Bureau, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Land O’Lakes, John Deere, Bayer, Cargill, Corteva, and Syngenta;
- Chefs and food leaders, including Tom Colicchio, Andrew Zimmern, Marcus Samuelsson, Sam Kass, Thomas Keller, Danny Meyer, Aaron Sanchez, Amanda Cohen, Adrian Lipscombe, and Claudine Pepin.
- Food and farm advocates, including the Environmental Working Group, Farm Aid, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
What they are saying about the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act:
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “In addition to the economic pain caused by the pandemic, socially disadvantaged communities are also dealing with a disproportionate share of COVID infection rates, hospitalizations and death. The American Rescue Plan expands testing and vaccinations and ensures that we get the economy on track for everyone, especially those who have been marginalized or shut out of federal assistance in the past. I applaud the provisions in the bill that begin to address systemic discrimination and provide relief and assistance to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and other farmers of color, and I am grateful for the leadership shown by Senators Warnock, Booker, Luján, Chairwoman Stabenow, Leahy, and Klobuchar as well as House Committee Chairmen Scott and Bishop.”
Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, PepsiCo, KIND, and others: “Our nation owes a huge debt of gratitude to farmers of color. Despite pervasive racial discrimination, farmers of color have nourished our communities for generations. We thank Senator Warnock for his efforts to provide debt relief to these farmers.”
Willie Nelson, Farm Aid President: “This bill is critical—for our country and our farmers and ranchers. It’s the right thing to do, and we are glad to see Congress working together to strengthen farmers—especially farmers of color—and build back our farm and food system.”
John Boyd, Founder and President of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA): “The pandemic has left Black farmers and other farmers of color in financial ruin; many Black farmers are in distress and facing farm foreclosures. The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act would provide financial assistance to help those farmers who historically have been left out of federal aid, and Senator Reverend Warnock and his colleagues should be commended on this needed legislative effort to help our nation’s Black farmers and farmers of color.”
National Milk Producers Federation: “The package includes important provisions that strengthen resilience and improve equity in rural America and take critical steps to improve the livelihoods of historically underserved farmers, including debt relief and access to credit. These actions will better position all parts of the country to recover from the stresses of the pandemic and strengthen our communities for years to come.”
Rural Coalition: “Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Farmers of Color continue to play an important social and economic role in sustaining rural communities while protecting the natural resources and producing safe and affordable farm products. We… urge the US Congress to ensure the urgently needed emergency relief for BIPOC farmers remains in the final COVID Emergency package.”