As head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson directed members’ consideration Thursday to A drawback he plans To deal with as chairman: racial inequality.
“The plight of the Black farmer Inside the State of Florida is exact,” Rouson informed members On the committee’s first meeting. “And there Might Even be alternative for this committee to do one factor To current aid to this plight.”
Dania Davey — a director with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assist Fund — briefed lawmakers Thursday Regarding the decline of Black farmers in Florida.
She warned They’re dropping almost 4,000 acres Yearly, whereas averaging Decrease than half of The federal authorities funds that non- Black farmers acquire.
The challenges dealing with Black farmers are a multifaceted problem, Davey said. In distinction to their relyerparts, Black farmers disproportionally are victims of discriminatory lending practices and lack enough entry to capital.
She suggested lawmakers think about improved oversight on agricultural lenders.
Black farmers additionally inherit extra challenges, Davey said, citing fractionated possession and debt amongst completely different factors.
“I exactly feel thOn the historic facet Is primarily entrenched in agriculture Notably as As in contrast with completely different fields,” Davey said.
She suggested debt aid, infrastructure funding and devoted entry to completely different markets, Similar to industrial hemp, as completely different options.
“I undoubtedly assume that Florida can Discover your self to be a mannequin if We now have insurance coverage policies That are focused on equity and agriculture that has not but absolutely been carried out in completely different states,” Davey said.
Rouson inspired lawmakers to take the advocateions Beneath think aboutation. They will return to The drawback, he said.
“I Look forward to working with you and our staff interacting To Supply you maybe a committee invoice or some coverage or one factor that We will advocate, So as that under our watch, We will say that we did one factor,” Rouson said.
The 2022 Legislative Session starts Jan. 11. Lawmakers are winding down their first of a quantity of committee weeks forward of that start date.