Three Democrat senators have introduced a bill that would reform the U.S. Department of Agriculture and create a system of land grants to transfer millions of acres to Black farmers at no charge.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., the lead sponsor of the bill, tweeted Tuesday, “I’m proud to team up with @ewarren and @SenGillibrand to introduce the Justice for Black Farmers Act. We need to balance the scales after decades of systemic racism within @USDA have harmed Black farmers.”
The bill was announced on Nov. 19 by Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and is set to be released on Nov. 30.
Booker told Mother Jones the bill aims to reverse the “destructive forces that were unleashed upon Black farmers over the past century — one of the dark corners of shame in American history.” A new USDA agency called the Equitable Land Access Service would buy agricultural land from willing sellers and “convey grants of that land to eligible Black individuals at no cost to the eligible Black individuals,” the bill states.
Through the race-based land transfer program, up to 32 million acres of land would be under Black ownership in a decade, which is seven times the amount currently in Black-owned farms, according to Agriculture.com.
The fund devotes $8 billion annually to the project and aims to make 20,000 grants each year of up to 160 acres through 2030.
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