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Chairman David Scott to host hearing with Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, Black farmers, and advocates

WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott will be chairing a hearing titled, A Hearing to Review the State of Black Farmers in the U.S., with participation from the full Agriculture Committee membership, which includes 8 members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The hearing, which is virtual, will be held on Thursday, March 25th at 12:00pm ET and will be available on the House Agriculture Committee’s YouTube channel.

Witnesses Include:

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Mr. John Boyd Jr.,
Founder and President, National Black Farmers Association, Baskerville, VA

Mr. Cornelius Blanding,
Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, East Point, GA

Mr. Philip J. Haynie, III,
Chairman, National Black Growers Council, Burgess, VA

Mr. Sedrick Rowe,
Organic Farmer, Rowe Organic Farm, Albany, GA

Mrs. Shirley Sherrod,
Executive Director, Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc., Albany, GA

Ms. Arnetta Cotton,
Co-Owner and Program Facilitator, Kingdom Community Development Services, Wagoner, OK, accompanied by Mr. Earrak Cotton, Owner, Cattle for the Kingdom, Wagoner, OK


This hearing will discuss the detrimental impact of longstanding, systemic discrimination by private and government institutions on Black farmers over the past century, including discriminatory practices from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), private lenders, and others.

Black farmers in the United States have seen reductions in number of farmers and total acres in the past century. Between 1900 and 1974, the number of farmers declined by approximately 60%, while the number of Black farmers declined by 94% during the same period (USDA, Census of Agriculture, 1974). Additionally, in 1920 Black farms operated 45 million acres, primarily in the South.  By 2017, that shrunk to just 1.1 million acres.

All additional information on this hearing can be found here.

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