Home Precision Agriculture Bill Would Reveal Race, Gender of Those Receiving Farm Subsidies

Bill Would Reveal Race, Gender of Those Receiving Farm Subsidies


The USDA has an extended and upsetting historical past of discrimination towards farmers of colour.

One instance of that’s the truth that the grants, loans and subsidies the USDA has distributed over time have hardly ever made it into the financial institution accounts of Black farmers. A brand new proposed invoice, from Consultant Bobby Rush of Illinois and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, goals to disclose who’s receiving these subsidies. 

One often repeated statistic relating to the historical past of Black farmers in the USA goes again to 1920, when there have been round 950,000 Black farmers within the nation. Right now, there are solely 45,000. Black farmers additionally, on common, make far much less cash than white farmers and personal far much less land, in consequence of discriminatory insurance policies: it has lengthy been far harder for Black farmers to safe grants, loans and land, in contrast with white farmers.

Even in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, when American farmers obtained report quantities of authorities help, little of it went to Black farmers; on common, white farmers obtained eight instances extra in help than Black farmers—it is a bigger hole than the common earnings discrepancy between white and Black farmers, which is already important, at roughly $190,000 per 12 months to below $40,000 per 12 months, in accordance with a report from The Guardian.

One main challenge in taking motion on discriminatory insurance policies is that the general public merely doesn’t know the place all that USDA cash goes. The Rush/Booker invoice, the Farm Subsidy Transparency Act of 2021, “would require [the] USDA to track and publicly disclose the race and gender of all individuals who receive farm assistance through USDA, as well as the amount of assistance received,” in accordance with a press launch from Consultant Rush’s web site. That would come with subsidies, loans, crop insurance coverage, catastrophe help and incentives for conservation efforts. It will additionally, curiously, require that this data be offered for many who have been rejected from getting help.

If that information was accessible to the general public, it may assist mobilize outrage on behalf of farmers who’ve traditionally been denied the identical entry and funding as white, male farmers. This proposed invoice is an element of an effort by some Democrats to proper the wrongs of racist USDA insurance policies, or no less than start to; President Biden’s COVID-19 reduction invoice, the American Rescue Plan, additionally included $4 billion for Black farmers, which attracted partisan lawsuits.


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