55 YEARS OF MOVEMENT BUILDING
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COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT |  LAND RETENTION |   ADVOCACY

MISSION

To be a catalyst for the development of self-supporting communities through cooperative economic development, land retention, and advocacy.

Black Farmer Debt Relief Litigation Declarations Needed 

Since being admitted as a party to the federal lawsuit, Miller v. Vilsack, which is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The Federation is working with our legal team, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Public Counsel, and Winston & Strawn LLP, to collect statements from our members, farmers, ranchers of color, and others regarding their experiences with FSA in the past 10-15 years.

If you would like to share your experiences with FSA as a part of this litigation, please click below for the process.

On June 28, 2022 we hosted a 2-hour Black Farmer Credit Listening Session. led by Dania Davy, the Federation's Director of Land Retention and Advocacy, to hear directly from our members regarding their credit experiences. Over fifty farmers, landowners, cooperatives, community members and allies participated in the listening session.

 

Our Advocacy Institute members will analyze the information gathered from the listening sessions to make policy recommendations to the Federation’s membership at the Annual Meeting.

 

 

Sebastian, Senior Fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joined us and gave an overview of the CFPB’s Rural Initiative.

 

Participants shared personal accounts of difficulty accessing credit through the USDA, primarily due to the application process. They also shared commercial lenders are generally less attractive due to the high credit score requirements, loan terms, and interest rates. Participants also made recommendations on what is needed to improve access to credit for farmers and rural communities. 

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Family farmers and rural communities suffer disproportionately in times of disaster and economic hardship. Rural communities have less developed infrastructure, greater distances between people & services and fewer resources. These communities suffer more because the impact of disaster hurts twice as much because limited resources can't support the assistance needed and whatever support available takes twice as long to reach those in need.

 

Family farmers in rural communities are usually the ones positioned to assist urban communities and populations severely affected by disasters, such as COVID-19 and other economic hardships. The greatest needs in times of peril are food, water and shelter. Farmers and cooperatives are the first responders to meet these needs.

 

Farmers produce and distribute fresh fruits & vegetables through local cooperatives. Cooperative facilities serve as staging areas and storage for relief items sent from across the country. By working with community-based organizations such as cooperatives, farmers have the capacity to organize, coordinate and monitor these efforts via established partnerships. Additionally rural communities often serve as refuge for evacuees during various disasters.

To prosper as a country and respond effectively and equitably to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and economic turmoil, we have to industriously utilize and equip farmers as first responders. To achieve tour collective goal please see the following recommendations as solutions: 

  • Better policies that focus on rural infrastructure and disaster pre such as a local farmer, cooperatives, and CBOS/regional systems should be identified, listed, and used as first responders in their respective communities.

  • Local and regional distribution systems should be developed and/or supported via local, state, and/or government funding.

  • Direct disaster payments to farmers and fishermen.

  • Cost-share programs to rebuild farm structures and infrastructure (i.e. barns, boats, docks, value-added facilities, equipment, materials, etc.)

  • Local disaster plans/models should be required for all counties/communities.

  • Greater CBO and minority-serving land grant university support to include disaster training as part of programs.