COVID-19 relief bill includes $5 billion for black farmers

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KEYSVILLE, GA ( WJBF) — For Loretta Adderson, as a sixth generation farmer, the roots of farming run deep in her family.

“My family have been black farmers as long as I can remember,” Adderson said.

However, farming during the pandemic has been a struggle

“Last year was the greatest loss that we’ve had since we’ve been farming,” Adderson said.

Loretta and her husband Sam lost nearly nine thousand dollars in revenue as local farmers markets shut down due to the pandemic.

” A lot of it had to do with the availability of the market. We did not have the face to face markets that we had the previous year,” Adderson said.

$5 billion dollars from the $1.9 trillion dollar covid-19 relief package is dedicated to black farmers like Adderson and other farmers of color.

The legislation backed by Georgia’s first black senator Raphael Warnock could be a big help to local farms who have struggled during the pandemic.

” Maybe we would be able to employ some additional workers that could help us grow more vegetables instead of the just the seasonal and extend the season year round.”

The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act comes also addresses what some say is a history of racism from the US Department of Agriculture against black farmers

In a statement Sen. Warnock said : “This legislation is a major step toward righting some of these injustices, and leveling the playing field for farmers and farming families of color.”

For Loretta the funds mean continuing to plant the seeds to help her farm thrive

” Our job is to grow and protect it and make sure that it is here for the future.”

Photojournalist: Chris Shipman

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