F.A.R.M.S. Recommends Amendments to the Justice for Black Farmers Act

The non-profit organization provides legal and technical services to aging farmers of color.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES, December 8, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Non-profit organization, Family Agriculture Resource Management Services, is announcing it is publicly recommending seven suggested amendments to the recently introduced Justice for Black Famers Act.

Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal and technical services to aging farmers of color. The organization’s mission is to also reduce hunger in the farmer’s community and act as a trusted resource and ally to Black farmers across the country.

In the organization’s recent news, F.A.R.M.S. is recommending seven suggested changes to the Justice for Black Farmers Act, which is sponsored by Senator Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand. The Act is a necessary step to correcting the wrongs of past discrimination Black farmers have endured for centuries and addresses the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) initial predatory lending action, which began at the Department’s inception in requiring the former enslaved to provide credit in order to secure a farm loan.

“Since inception, the USDA has earned the title of being the ‘last plantation,’ which is proven in its historic theft of Black-owned land since the turn of the 20th century,” says founder and director of F.A.R.M.S., Jillian Hishaw. “With Black families losing 30,000 acres per year in land ownership, the need for reform is apparent. The inclusion of the moratorium on foreclosures, oversight committees, the distribution of 160 acres, similar to the 1862 Homestead Act, conservation initiatives, and more are all welcomed legislative changes from the norm that seldom recognizes repairing the plight of the Black farmer.”

To help ensure protection, Hishaw recommends the following policy revisions:

• Replace the Secretary’s nominating power with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, along with the addition of two guaranteed voting seats occupied by Black farmers who do not have a history of accepting money from corporate lobbyists and are unknown in the media;

• Include language prohibiting the statute of limitations, tolling, res judicata, and the non-exhaustion of remedies as reasons to dismiss past civil rights complaints;

• The Oversight Board’s enforcement authority should be stated more broadly, ensuring the Secretary of Civil Rights no longer has final agency decision authority along with the Office of General Counsel;

• Section 402 should consider joining sections of Representative Gregory Meeks’ 2019 “Ensuring Diversity of the Community Banking Act” Bill;

• Homestead protection should be included to protect any and all non-farm housing of heir owners who have signed a personal guarantee;

• Beef check-off fees reform should be included in the ‘Packer and Stockyard’ section. The provision should include language restricting the use of fees by leading trade associations regarding the hiring of lobbying and consulting firms to advocate against small and mid-size cattle Black owned ranchers and;

• Prioritization of aging rural Black farmers, who have pending civil rights claims within USDA should be noted within the bill.

“Our main clientele are aging Black farmers and this bill will give much needed relief to farmers who constantly live in fear of a farm foreclosure,” states Hishaw. “Restrictions regarding USDA program access, grants, and the alike are decades long overdue. This bill is a step in the right direction!”
For more information about F.A.R.M.S., please visit www.30000acres.org, on Facebook: 30000acres, or on Instagram: @f.a.r.m.s.

About the Organization

Family Agriculture Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the legal and technical needs of aging Black farmers. Over the past seven years, F.A.R.M.S. has assisted in the foreclosure prevention of Black farms, donated over one million pounds of produce to food banks in high poverty rural communities, and has provided numerous small farmers with emergency financial assistance in response to COVID-19 and natural disasters.

Jillian Hishaw, Esq.

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