How S.C. lawmaker is working to restore Black-owned farms

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House(WRDW)
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 8:55 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A South Carolina lawmaker is introducing a bill to restore Black-owned farms and invest in African Americans interesting in farming.

State Rep. JA Moore has prefiled legislation called the “Black Farmer Restoration Program,” that aims to create a fund to purchase farmland and grant it to eligible individuals and provide training for them.

“Here in South Carolina farming agriculture is the number one industry in the state,” Moore said. “It’s still true however, over the past hundred years we have seen an erosion in the number of black farmers in the state.”

South Carolina has nearly 39,000 farmers, but less than 2,500 are Black, according to a 2017 report by the U.S Department of Agriculture.

The effort mirrors a federal bill introduced by Sen. Cory Booker that would help African Americans reclaim thousands of acres of land that originally belonged to Black-owned farms.

In 1920 there were more than 949,000 Black farmers in the United States, whereas now only 1.3% of all farms are Black owned.

Germaine Jenkins is the Chief Farm Officer of Fresh Future Farm, a Black-owned nonprofit urban farm and grocery store in North Charleston.

She says she hopes any legislation proposed will help provide more options for the community.

“As a non-profit we can’t endorse anything, but we are completely in support of growing the number of black farmers in the state however it shapes out,” Jenkins said.

The General Assembly will meet in January, but Moore says now is the time to reach out to legislators about this bill.

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