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Experts note that the bill is the most important legislation for farmers since the Civil Rights Act

Washington Rights 1964

About half of the $ 10.4 billion US agricultural rescue program will go to vulnerable farmers, according to the Farm Bureau’s Industrial Organization. About a quarter of vulnerable farmers are in love. The money was used to pay off debts, such as grants, training, education, and other forms of land acquisition.

Although it is a relatively small portion of the $ 1.9 trillion banknote, lawyers say it is still a step towards correcting the mistake after the government’s mistreatment of black farmers by others. Some say it is a form of compensation for African Americans who have a long history of racial oppression.

“This is the most essential piece of legislation in the country on the land ownership arch,” said Tracey Lloyd McCurry, executive director of the Justice Center in the Zone Zone, which provides legal representation to farmers.

Farmers in the United States have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland over the past century, mostly since the 1950s, as a result of what agricultural experts say and the protection of farmers’ interests from systemic racism, the government’s “social” policies. A practical practice that has denied blacks fair access to markets.

Discrimination began a century ago with the federal acts of the Homestead Act, which mainly offered white residents deeply subsidized land. Since then, it has been found that local US Department of Agriculture offices in charge of disbursing loans deny access to loans to black farmers, ignore or delay loan applications. Many farmers do not have a clear title in their home country, which does not entitle them to some USDA loans to buy livestock or cover planting costs; they rarely benefit from subsidy or trade mitigation compensation – almost all of President Donald Trump’s $ 28 billion in aid. For farmers affected by China’s trade war, white farmers suffered.

Today, the average African American farm is about 100 acres, according to the latest census of the last farm, the national average is about 440 acres. The American Center for Advancement found that in 2017, full-time white farmers earn $ 17,190 from farmers, while average full-time farmers make $ 2,408.

Many civil rights activists say that the USDA’s own practice has led to the loss of land for black families and the wealth of generations.

“For generations, socially disadvantaged farmers have struggled to achieve full success because of a cycle of systemic discrimination and debt,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement on Saturday. “In addition to the economic pain caused by the epidemic, farmers in vulnerable communities are dealing with disproportionate rates of Covid-19 infection, hospitalizations, and fatal economic losses.”

Of the 3.4 million farmers in the United States today, 45,000 are black, according to the USDA, less than 1 million a century ago. According to the agricultural census, in 1910 the ownership of all agricultural lands reached its peak – 16 million 19 million acres, about 14% of the total agricultural lands. A century later, 90% of that land was lost. According to the USDA, white farmers now account for 98% of the total area.

“It’s good for me to know that my 91-year-old father is alive to see what he’s been trying to accomplish for the last 30 years,” said Abraham Carpenter, a Gray Farmer from Graham, Ark. He says this debt relief is a lifelong dream for many farmers.

“We have been held hostage by the USDA for so many years,” he said. “Most people do not realize how bad it is to be treated badly. “They do not know how it feels to be in a position where you can not help yourself or your family.”

McCourt և Others have used the word “compensation” as a term for financial reparations to the descendants of enslaved people when referring to these efforts to pay off the debt of black farmers and provide access to land. Democrats have increasingly demanded in recent years that African Americans be paid or compensated for the long-term effects of slavery and segregation.

“It is a compensation, but it is more than that. It’s historic, “said McCurry. “When black farmers acquired land with our own determination, the USDA did what it could to undermine those gains. Again, black farmers, because of their dedication to organizational work, created freedom for colored farmers. “Our farmers are not a bouquet of flowers for their grief, but a field of flowers.”

Others, while acknowledging that the payments will be significant, say the measure does not provide compensation.

Duke Darty, a professor of public policy at Duke University who has studied compensation, says that $ 5 billion in “savings” is “savings”, up to 2% of lost wealth, does not mean compensation.

“The best estimate I’ve ever seen for farmers’ economic losses to farmers because of the general USDA policy of land grabbing has been $ 250 billion to $ 350 billion,” he said. “This is about 10% of the total US wealth, about $ 2.5 trillion,” he said. “The notion that this is approaching the compensation program is nonsense. “Compensation for American descendants of slavery must be designed to eliminate the black-and-white wealth west.”

Mitigation for farmers of color should not remain a challenge in Congress, 49 Republican senators voted against.

GOP sens. Montana’s Steve Danes, Pennsylvania’s Patrick Tumi and Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville have written changes to the $ 4 billion debt relief bill. Senator Mike Brun, R-Ind., Added that he would go on strike to replace the $ 1 billion rural broadband network. R-Wis. Senator Ron John Onson proposed a change to reduce funding for programs and limit funding access.

“This bill is not about responding to COVID,” Tumi said in a statement. “We are talking about exploiting the last part of the public health crisis to create a list of liberal wishes for years to come. [including] “Paying farmers’s livestock is equal to 120 percent of their loans, regardless of their earnings, wealth or COVID effects, exclusively for ethnic minorities or immigrants.”

The provision also showed resistance in the Chamber. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., Introducing Supplement to Significantly Limit Debt Forgiveness During the Epidemic, և Rep-Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa tax consequences) up to 100% reduction.

The scope of this part of the aid bill was drafted by the Color Farmers Emergency Aid Act, introduced by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga, who was joined by Democratic senators. Corey Booker of New Jersey, Ben Ray Luzhan of New Mexico. Դ Debbie Stabeno from Michigan. The legislation aims to repay federal loans, increase land access and opportunities for historically unpopular colored farmers. This bill is based on Booker’s Justice for Farmers Act.

“I spent a lot of time in rural Georgia,” Warnock told The Washington Post. “I have personally heard from the residents of these communities how they felt for a very long time that they had been discriminated against by our federal government, these were the people I had in mind when we were trying to get this bold help. »

This is not the first time the federal government has sought to compensate farmers for decades of marginalization and systematic discrimination. Two Pigford I և II lawsuits against the USDA have paid $ 2.3 billion to blackberry farmers who have been accused of racial discrimination by the department in providing agricultural loans since 1983.

According to McCurty, the settlements in Pigford did not make black farmers complete.

“Only 4.8% of the Pigford I settlement went into debt repayment. “The vast majority of farmers were left with unscrupulous debts and no legal aid to save their land,” McCurry said.

Lloyd Wright, who was the director of the USDA Civil Rights Office during the Clinton ոնի Obama administration, describes Pigford as a big promise that did not deliver much. And while he says incentives have been a key part of legislation for farmers for more than half a century, he says the way it is managed still leaves room for error.

“It seems to be plain English. We will forgive the debt for people of color. But for people who do not want to do it? “They will try to find out how not to do that,” he said. “If they really forgive the debt with this bill, that’s the biggest thing ever.”

The incentive bill provides grants, loans to improve land access, և to solve heirs’ property problems (for example, when a farmer dies involuntarily, և his land is divided among all legal heirs և), a racial justice commission is set up to address systemic racism. The USDA և provides financial support to historically և colleges և land grant universities հետազոտ research և education.

“I hope the money will not go for research. “Black farmers were studied to death,” Wright said.

Virginia’s fourth-generation farmer, John von Boyd, president of the National Association of National Nonprofit Farmers, said he was “sickly aware” of the lack of support from lawmakers.

“It simply came to our notice then that half of the Senate was cut off from farmers. “I have been trying to get this relief for 30 years,” he said. “Now we have to make sure that Secretary Vilsak defines it in the same way as it was intended, including providing technical assistance to farmers. We, as a group, will have to review the USDA. ”


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