The federal government is projected to issue a record $46 billion of subsidies to struggling farmers this year as President Trump’s trade war with China rages, but Black farmers say they’ve yet to receive a piece of the pie.
The Trump administration created a subsidy program to help farmers amid the tariff battle with Beijing, but 99 percent of the subsidies provided that were linked to the trade war has gone to white farmers, NBC News reported, citing The Counter, a nonprofit news organization focused on food and agriculture.
Such practices have taken their toll on the nation’s Black farmers for generations. In 1920, there were almost a million Black farmers in the U.S., according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, there’s fewer than 50,000.
The Center for American Progress said such numbers are indicative of how structural racism in the U.S. “has robbed Black farmers of the opportunity to build wealth,” NBC reported.
Furthermore, racism has contributed to “the loss of more than 36 million acres of farmland between 1920 and 1978,” researchers at the think tank wrote.
The Trump administration, which has relied heavily on the support of rural areas during the 2020 presidential campaign, has left the position at the USDA of assistant secretary for civil rights unfilled, although there are an associate assistant secretary, a deputy secretary and an acting chief of staff for civil rights.