Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) believes Black farmers and farmers of color who are getting assistance via the COVID relief bill received “reparations.” John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, is now asking for an apology.
During a March 15 interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC, Boyd said, “I lobbied Sen. Lindsey Graham as a congressman. I lobbied him as a senator. I've been by his office and asked him to help me fix the proble/ms at the United States Department of Agriculture that caused Black farmers to lose millions of acres of land and address the lack of loans and subsidies, and he's never once used his megaphone to speak out against the discrimination.”
He continued, “But as soon as we get justice here, some 30 years later, his very first words — he said he found it troubling, and in his last part of his statement, he said that we need to check them.”
Generations of racial discrimination have caused Black farmers to be far more likely to have more debt, less land and less access to credit. According to estimates from the Farm Bureau, Black farmers account for roughly a fourth of those who would be eligible for loan relief under the fund program.
The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill seeks to help socially disadvantaged Black farmers and farmers of color. In his MSNBC appearance, Boyd said the measure “rectifies a wrong for Black and other farmers of color” who have been “shut out of the U.S. farm subsidy program, U.S. farm lending at the United States Department of Agriculture,” among other programs.
To learn more about the National Black Farmers’ Association, visit their website here.