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Black History Month: These African Americans fueled farming

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February is Black History Month, and as various industries around the United States celebrate the African American men and women who helped to share this nation, it’s important to remember to remember the roles that those in agriculture played. 

This is a particularly poignant topic because our agricultural landscape has been shaped by a history of slavery and structural racism, and recent years (notably 2020) have helped make a great portion of our nation aware of just how much the deck was stacked any Black agriculturalists — from land ownership to education to access to funding and other resources.

A 2018 study shows that:

“Farmers of color (Black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and those reporting more than one race) comprised less than 3 percent of non-farming landowners and less than 4 percent of owner-operators. They were more likely to be tenants than owners; they also owned less land and smaller farms, and generated less wealth from farming than their white counterparts.”

To help celebrate Black History Month in the farming community, here are some of the leaders who have worked to advance Black issues over the generations.

Quiz

 

We hope that you enjoyed meeting George Washington Carver, John W. Mitchell, Percy Lavon Julian, Henry Blair, and John W. Boyd Jr. and to learn the major roles that they played in making agriculture what it is today. We can hope there will be many more people like them who step up and help bring equity and civility to American farming.

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