Special to the Democrat by: John Zippert,
The Network of Black Farm Organizations and Advocates, spearheaded by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, has developed a statement in support of Black farmers and rural communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation, which works regionally in the Southeast with 10,000 of the remaining Black farmers, organized into 30 agricultural cooperatives said, “ We have been meeting with and surveying our membership about their condition and needs in the midst of this pandemic. We found many detailed and specific emergency and longer-term needs of Black farmers, farmworkers and rural communities that must be addressed during and as we move through the recovery from this pandemic.”
“We plan to bring this list of specific programmatic demands to the attention of the Black Congressional Caucus and other members of Congress, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdew and the program administrators at USDA, Joe Biden and his Presidential campaign and the general public to make sure that people understand the special needs of Black farm families and the rural communities where they live,” said Blanding.
The Democrat, presents the Network’s statement in full below.
“We, the undersigned, represent the Network of Black Farm Organizations & Advocates and stand in solidarity with ALL in this nation and around the world who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We especially stand with all of those farmers, farmworkers and communities that are the backbone of our food system during these challenging times. More specifically, we represent and/or serve many of the black farmers and rural communities that have been or expect to be disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and its economic impact.
The statement was signed by these members of the Network of Black Farm Organizations and Advocates:
Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (Southeast Region)
Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (AR)
Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project (OK)
Land Loss Prevention Project (NC)
Kansas Black Farmers Association (KS)
Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc. (GA)
Operation Spring Plant (NC)
Landowners Association of Texas (TX)
Rural Advancement Fund (SC)
Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association (NC)
Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MS)
Alabama State Association of Cooperatives (AL)
Blanding said based on past experience with natural disasters as floods, hurricanes and droughts, that the Network will be vigilant to assure these concerns are addressed in the immediate emergency as well as during the long recovery period. “Over the years, we have seen disproportionate responses to the needs of Black and other minority farmers and we want to be sure that the response is fair and inclusive in response to this pandemic,” he said.
For more information and to support this statement, contact the Federation of Southern Cooperatives through their website at: http://www.federration.coop.