Black Texas Farmers were finally on track to get federal aid. The state's agriculture commissioner now wants to stop that.
The state says issuing help to only black farmers is unconstitutional leaving other farmers out of the same opportunities, but history professor Dr Jerry Jones made a statement that expresses why black farmers might need the grant.
Jones said, “Black farmers had the short end in federal policy concerning agriculture. So not only did the policies not favor them but there was actual purposeful discrimination at the state and local level.”
Joe Collard with Joe Collard Fresh Market and Crooked Fork Cattle, Mart Texas is a black farmer in the Central Texas area, in response to how black farmers are treated by the USDA, he said, “I am mad as hell because as a young man who served this country and to come home and serve and be treated like that.”
Census data reveals the number of black farmers in the United States plummeted over 90 percent from 1920 to 1969. Those farmers that remain are having a tough time getting loans from the USDA to operate farms.
Collard said, “They say its discriminating against white farmers, excuse me white female farmers but they can go get a loan, they don’t have to jump through hoops, if they say what do they need- that’s what they get. When we tell them what we need ... we get less than that.”
Ronnie Russell, President, Black Chamber of Commerce added, “You have your hub, you have your minority business enterprise, women business enterprise so why would not having a grant for black farmers not be okay.”
Russell believed black farmers deserve the extra help to even out the playing field.
42 percent of black farmers were rejected for direct USDA Loans in 2021, more than any other demographic group. The Texas Agriculture Commissioner , Sid Miller is stepping in to challenge the possibility of federal aid to farmers. He believes a course like this will only lead to disunity and discord.