Sen. Raphael Warnock may be a freshman congressman, but he is making veteran-like moves on Capitol Hill. The freshman senator has led the push for the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act to be included in the latest COVID-19 relief package. Through his efforts, farmers of colors will receive $4 billion in debt relief. Ultimately, the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act aims to build generational wealth for Black farmers and their families.
“We are one more important step closer to bringing emergency debt relief to Black, Native American and other Farmers of Color in this country,” National Black Farmers Association John Boyd Jr. stated
“Generations of discriminatory behavior by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has contributed to significant economic differences between white farmers and farmers of color that directly impact their access to credit. Sec. 1005 and Sec. 1006 of H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will help address the ongoing effects of discrimination by reducing the risk of foreclosure and increasing access to credit.”
Members of Congress believe that this act is simply the first step in addressing the decades of systemic racism that Black farmers have faced at the hands of the USDA and other organizations. Recently, Sen. Cory Booker reintroduced the Justice For Black Farmers Act in an attempt to reform the farming industry. Most notably, it would kickstart a study of how the USDA has discriminated against farmers of color over the years.
“[The Justice For Black Farmers Act will] address the history of discrimination against Black farmers and ranchers, to require reforms within the Department of Agriculture to prevent future discrimination, and for other purposes," Booker stated.
Thus far, Booker has managed to garner support from both sides of the aisle, including Warnock.
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