On September 5, 2013, the Arts Trade Lifestyle (ATL) independent news source reported southern-region black farmer’s protest for mainstream media coverage of their discriminatory complaints against the USDA. The USDA has a reputation for being one of the worst discriminating agencies in the federal government with regards to racism, sexism, and more. Farmers, who are not eligible to secure financing from a regular bank, face bankruptcy and the loss of their entire business. As a last resort, the USDA provides loans for farming operations as assistance for long-term success. However, the USDA is actually driving farmers out of business due to unethical practices including: loan bias, illegal land sales, land theft, and document forgery. The agency has particularly initiated hardships for minorities by not providing the same lending options and equal service as it does with white customers. Some reports even contain agency officials verbally stating racial slurs and rejecting applications due to skin tone. Consequently, black farmers are significantly decreasing and their reports of discrimination are either being denied or continuously unresolved. Major news sources have yet to cover this story, and the few existing black farmers continue to struggle to preserve their farms, their families, and their hope.
Miles Edwards, “USDA Unapproved: The Struggle of the Independent Black Farmer,” Arts Trade Lifestyles, September 25, 2013, http://www.artstradelifestyle.com/usda-unapproved-the-struggle-of-the-independent-black-farmer/
Student Researcher: Bianca Beggs (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)