Food, Farming, and Race
Additional Law & Policy Resources
In collaboration with Shirah Dedman
This webpage is a special joint project undertaken by Susan Schneider and Shirah Dedman with the goal of providing resources on "Food, Farming and Race." We hope that our resources will include both analysis of the historic and contemporary structural racism that permeates our food system and resources on the transformational changes that are breaking down barriers and building new opportunities. We welcome your suggestions. Please use the Contact Us form.
Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The Act includes $4 billion in direct relief payments to help socially disadvantaged farmers pay off outstanding USDA farm loan debts and related taxes. It also includes $1.01 billion to support activities at USDA that will root out systemic racism, provide technical and legal assistance to agricultural communities of color, and fund under-resourced programs that will shape the future for farmers and communities of color.
A socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is a member of a group that has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Section 2501(a) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279(a)).
Text: Public Law No: 117-2
Congressional Record: pp. 1265-1665
USDA Implementation: Fact Sheet
National Family Farm Coalition
Agricultural Census Data
Minority Producer Highlights:
Asian Producers (2017)
Hispanic / Latinx Producers (2017)
For a deeper dive into socially disadvantaged farmer groups, please click on the boxes below.
About the Collaborator
Shirah Dedman is an afroecologist, specializing in the environmental analysis of the African-American experience. She is the filmmaker of two widely-released documentaries: Follow the Drinking Gourd and YOU A NOMAD. Follow the Drinking Gourd is a feature documentary that explores the Black food justice movement by connecting slavery, landloss, climate change and food autonomy. YOU A NOMAD is a short documentary that deconstructs the depopulation of African-Americans from cities. She is a former Associate of the Equal Justice Initiative, where she took part in the community education project by speaking about the lynching of her great-grandfather. Shirah is an alum of the LL.M. Program.