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Minnesota Launches Program To Support Non-White Farmers 

The program was formed to target systemic bias in the agricultural industry

Minnesota is moving forward with a program to address the prevalence of white farmers.

The “Emerging Farmers’ Working Group” was formed following a 2020 report from the legislature that found that farming is a majority white occupation in Minnesota. 

According to the legislative report, systemic bias caused the disparity in the industry.  

Minnesota’s economy centers on agriculture. The fifth-largest agricultural producer in the United States, the state’s 68,500 farms span more than 25 million acres. There are more than 430,000 agricultural jobs in the state.

However, the co-authors of the report, Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey and Strategy and Innovation Specialist Ariel Kagan, wanted the state to address the lack of diversity in the industry.

Bailey and Kagan contend that the “history of land ownership in the state” and the regulations that govern them — including the Homestead Act (1862), Bonanza Farms (1875) — have resulted in minority people being underrepresented because they did not have equal opportunity.

“Implicit and structural biases exist at all levels and at all institutions,” the report claims. “Taking an anti-racist approach to planning and program development is key for ensuring that existing programs are not implicitly favoring one group over another.”

Bailey also suggests removing the photos of previous governors, who were all white men, from a display at the Agricultural department’s St. Paul headquarters.

The Minnesota Legislature approved $150,000 in the 2021 session for the creation of “an emerging farmer office.”

The “Emerging Farmers” program is overseen by Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture. The advisory group is comprised of 19 members, who each serve a two-year term. Thus far, the department has received 41 applications.

The mission of the “MDA and Minnesota Legislature on ways to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses.” Emerging Farmers could be women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian/Alaskan Native, people from communities of color, young people and urban farmers.

“The Emerging Farmers’ Working Group’s first year laid a strong foundation for efforts to build the agricultural industry of the future, by bringing all voices and ideas to the table,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a statement. “I’m thankful to the returning and new members who are committing to move this important conversation forward. I’m so excited about this work.”

Twenty percent of the Minnesota population are people of color, a term defined by the Minnesota State Demographic Center as those who identify with a race other than White, Hispanic or Latin. The majority of people (80%) are Non-Hispanic White.

All race groups have grown recently in [the state], but between 2010 and 2018, the state has added five times as many People of Color as non-Hispanic White residents,” the agency reports. “Populations of Color are distributed unevenly across the state, and are more likely to live in metro areas than rural areas.”

“Predating the Biden administration’s push to help farmers of color were efforts by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who took office in 2019 with similar vows to increase opportunities in an industry of aging white men and daunting barriers to entry not just for people of color but the young, women and others with nontraditional backgrounds,” per The Star Tribune.

The USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture found that 99% (110,824) of farmers in Minnesota are white. The state only has 39 black farmers.

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8 responses to “Minnesota Launches Program To Support Non-White Farmers ”

  1. wescom says:

    Every day folks wake up and say “Today, I’m gonna be a farmer today! I hate waking up after dawn and going to bed after sun down!”

    And as others have pointed out, I thought driving policy based on race was a no-no.

  2. Liam-Haakon says:

    A-A-A-A-N-N-N-D-D-D-D…there you have it! A violation of EEOC. Lawsuit anyone? The leftists are trying to undo the 1964 Civil Rights Act in bits and pieces. They tried it in California, now they are trying it here. Its a trend that has been going on now for a bit, expect more of this unless it is not stopped BUTT COLD in it’s evil tracks!

  3. Planx says:

    I would like to see a link to the homestead act and bonanza farms.

  4. Devon says:

    Rhodesia , you meant to say Rhodesia

  5. Tbrunschon says:

    I dont think their points are correct, ive lived in mn my whole life and EVERYONE wants to live in the cities metro. life is hard out here in rural mn especially in the winter, it gets very cold with lots of snow and where i used to live on the vermilion iron range up north it could be days before plows get out to you after a heavy snow fall or blizzard. 73 percent of pop of mn lives in ‘urban’ areas with 55 percent of the total pop of mn living inside the 7 county Twin Cities Metro Area alone. theres no riots out here though 🤣

  6. DrVinnyBoombatz says:

    “I could teach anybody, even people in this room, to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”– Michael Bloomberg

    “You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight Eisenhower

    All you have to do is look at what they once said and what they say now to see how dumb our leaders have become in the last century. Not that there haven’t always been stupid people in politics, but at least at one time there were some brighter people to balance things out.

  7. SNIPERBAIT66-67 says:

    Several years ago, Black Farmers sued for this reason and were paid MILLIONS of Dollars! That Racist, Black Cretin, Congresswoman, herself made $400 Million Dollars after she jumped into the suit herself!!
    Isn’t his “Double Dipping”?

  8. prcntm says:

    I’ve seen this one. The country’s food supply is decimated, and the farmers they chased out are begged to come back in a desperate bid to avoid mass starvation. Happened in Africa for sure: Zimbabwe if my memory is correct.