Washington, D.C. – In a historic milestone, the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) will mark its 26th year of standing up for African American farmers and their families.
The NBFA conference, set for November 4-5 in Pearl, Mississippi, will commemorate past successes and rally to face continuing challenges in helping tens of thousands of black farmers pursue rights and opportunities available to millions of other farmers in America.
The NBFA gathering will convene at the Holiday Inn Trustmark Park, 110 Bass Pro Drive, Pearl, Mississippi, 39208. Members will hear from a number of noted speakers, including representatives of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Former United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, Actor Danny Glover and U.S. Deputy Comptroller of the Currency Beverly Cole.
I would like to thank Dr. John Boyd, Jr. and the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) for your longstanding partnership. The NBFA has helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) begin the difficult but necessary work of correcting past injustices and charting a new path forward. As a result of your advocacy, USDA has begun a cultural transformation that will continue long after my time as Secretary said Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture.
For over 30 years the NBFA has advocated on behalf of black farmers working to ensure they have the rights and opportunities they deserve said President Obama in a letter to the NBFA.
Among critical topics the conference will highlight a special banking session titled “Financial Readiness for Farmers.” A special session will present updates on the federal government’s settlement for decades of unequal treatment in the Agriculture Department’s support for minority group farmers, including the Black Farmers Settlement, Women Farmers Settlement and Native American Farmers Settlement.
“Over the last 26 years, the nation’s black farmers have seen both successes and setbacks in our ongoing struggle to have the same opportunities others have always had access to,” said Dr. John Boyd, Founder and President of the NBFA.
“For far too long, our community has been denied access to vital programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist farmers. However, some of those doors that once were slammed shut due to discrimination have been opened as a result of the pressure NBFA has brought to bear on our leaders in Washington,” Boyd added. “All we’ve asked is to be able to produce safe, affordable and abundant food for Americans with an equitable safety net for all family farmers regardless of race and color.”
The NBFA is a non-profit, national organization founded in the early 1990s, by John Boyd, Jr., of Baskerville, Virginia, a fourth generation farmer who was determined to hold on to his heritage, and save his farm from foreclosure caused by racial discrimination under the USDA.
Boyd founded the NBFA after encountering the USDA’s discriminatory practices first-hand and meeting many more black farmers who shared this experience. In 2007 research released jointly by NBFA and Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed black farmers received only one-sixth to one-third of the benefits that other farmers received under major federal crop subsidy programs.
The NBFA encourages the participation of small and disadvantaged farmers in gaining access to resources of state and federal programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Shortly after creating the NBFA, Boyd led its members in a march on the White House, where he eventually met with President Bill Clinton and testified before Congress about the plight of black farmers.
In 2007 then Senator Barack Obama sponsored the black farmers’ bill, a measure that passed in the federal farm bill, allowing 80,000 black farmers to have their cases heard on merits. After years of pressing congress for action a bill was passed for $1.25 billion, the largest government settlement in history for African Americans. President Obama signed the historic bill, “The Claims Remedy Act” on December 8, 2010.