John W. Boyd, Jr. is a fourth-generation farmer, civil rights activist, and the National Black Farmers Association president and founder.
After fighting for debt relief for over three decades, John W. Boyd, Jr. was elated when the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color was passed and signed into law by President Joe Biden last year in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. Section 1005 was created specifically to offer loan forgiveness to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (SDFRs), defined as those “belonging to groups that have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice.” Shortly after this was passed, twelve white farmers filed a lawsuit and tied up the $4 billion dollars promised to farmers of color (SDFR's). This lawsuit immediately stopped debt relief from being distributed. A year after the Act was passed, the debt relief is still inaccessible, and Black farmers and farmers of color are getting served foreclosure notices.
Boyd met with Biden during the S.C. primaries to discuss the plight of Black farmers. He was promised a FaceTime meeting with Biden to discuss the ongoing struggles and delay of the long sought-after debt relief for America’s Black farmers
Unfortunately, the meeting with President Biden has yet to happen, and Section 1005 has been altered.
- What once read as "Debt Relief for Farmers of Color" now reads as "Assistance for Certain Farm Borrowers."
- The $4 billion dollars in aid has now been reduced to $1.2 billion.
With these changes, what was once specifically for the 4% of socially disadvantaged farmers, is now accessible to the 95% of America's white farmers. For centuries, white farmers have received their government relief with little to no problem, while Black farmers faced discrimination and neglect on local, state, and national levels. All it took was twelve farmers to stop the aid for roughly 50,000 minority farmers who for generations, have been denied assistance from the USDA.
One hundred years ago, 14% of American farmers were Black; today, that number is 1.4%. During Jim Crow, discriminatory and predatory practices from the USDA robbed Black farmers and farmers of color of their farms. The loss of this land ownership continues to be seen and felt in our communities today. The recent changes to Section 1005 are a continuation of Jim Crow practices in the modern era.
John W. Boyd, Jr. and his wife, Kara Brewer Boyd, are activists who fight for farmers' rights and have dedicated their lives to their work. Unfortunately, with rising costs of fertilizers, agricultural technology, climate change, and lack of congressional action, farmers all over the country are threatened by foreclosures. Farmers are in dire need of your assistance to continue feeding the American people and keeping their homes.
Kara Brewer Boyd is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the founder of the Association of American Indian Farmers (AAIF). Together, they helped organize the National Women's Farming Association (NWFA). The Boyds plan to positively impact the families affected by unfair policies through these organizations.
You can make a difference by donating today to National Black Farmers Association. The NBFA provides advocacy, outreach and direct assistance to new and established farmers. Our programs include scholarships, financial aid, legal support, and hands-on learning experiences for family farmers all over the country.
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