In February 2021, the U.S. House Agriculture Committee announced a $5 billion dollars debt relief program for socially disadvantaged farmers. Chairman Dave Scott commented that famers from minority backgrounds deserved aid because they had previously overlooked during the Covid-19 relief programs. This program of debt relief would mean that the government would pay off USDA loans of disadvantaged farmers and provide an additional 20% to pay off income taxes.
This has been supported by over 600 food companies, farming organizations and racial equity leaders who have rallied support for the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, which is sponsored by Senator Warnock. Senator Raphael Warnock states this legislation would address racial inequalities in the agriculture industry and support black, indigenous, Hispanic and other minority farmers to recover and prosper from the severe economic downturn caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. This legislation is part of President Joe Biden’s American rescue plan of $1.9 trillion dollars.
Mark Bittman, former food columnist and author, commented that African Americans have been excluded from agricultural programs which would provide them the opportunity to become landowning farmers. He states that for over a century black people have significantly contributed to the U.S. agriculture and the great wealth that was generated from this. African Americans have been excluded from receiving federal loans and land giveaways. Through mistreatment by the government, they have been driven off their farms.