Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers have taken another hit in 2005. What will 2006 hold for an industry plaque by racism, discrimination, and social injustice? Farmers, ranchers, laborers, and producers have continuously battled to feed their families and keep control of their land, while trying to provide excellent agriculture products for growing America and aboard. As I traveled through the Southern Bible Belts states and across the Midwest, I continue to see the same old problem in this billion-dollar industry. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Many small farmers and ranchers have loss their land due to default on loans, poor judgment in loan process, trust of the government, and more.
What can we do if anything to savage a problem that the state and local government don't want to touch? County agencies still are not accountable for the discrimination and insults to customers they are paid to sever.With the growing bills in Iraq many of our citizens are left homeless, leaving a billion dollar bill for taxpayers to pay while our politicians move on to the next phase of their lives. The past 2004 Farm Bill didn't address the needs of our farmers and their families. It provided no additional monies to help minority farmers with loans or grants even though agencies consistently assure customers through their web site that loan and grant money are available.
2005 disasters and a three-year-old war and counting take precedent over helping needy farmers. No one is implying that the aid to New Orleans and the War in Iraq is not worthy, but the problems with socially disadvantage farmers and ranchers existed before Iraq and the 2005 disasters. It is a disaster that aid hasn't taken place to help these farmers and ranchers.
Everything that is done for another country impacts our pocket and bottom-line. People say, "What does the war have to do with Farming?" Farmers are affected when the budget for funding crop relief is impacted, with discrimination playing a major role on who get this relief. With continuous decline in property loss, bringing our farmers to there knees.The USDA National Statistical Service continues to provide static's indicating a decrease in minority farming and it continues to get worst. You don't need to have a degree in agriculture or mathematics to see that they are hurting and know one cares. Just go to your local grocery store and look at the prices of produce, goods, and services.
The prices are astounding and it is going to get worst, because no one really cares.In Hope Hull, Alabama, the price to do business in an industry of landscaping and farming continues to bring price fixing, discrimination, injustices, and more. Mr. Robert Lee Jackson of B-J Landscaping and Contracting Service has been in business for over 40 years providing goods and services to a community that has grown sense the Jim Crow days in Alabama.
However, pricing and discrimination has continued to knock Mr. Jackson and others like him out of business. But Mr. Jackson is not going anywhere. He has taking his cases to Washington, DC and wants the discrimination and price injustice to stop.Mr.
Jackson has been complaining to the Alabama courts and their lawyers for years and has not gain any support regarding the lack of pay and monies owed to him by corrupted contractors. There has been a lot of celebration in Alabama for many reason, civil right moment, Former Governor Wallace reclaiming of his wrong doing, and now the late death of Rosa Parks.But no one is making anyone accountable for the problems and lost of contracts, monies owe to contractors and community businesses like B-J Landscaping.
Accountability is poor and so are the contractors that are losing business everyday in Alabama and other states. Wrong doing to our taxpayers in Alabama and the lost of business that is generated through discrimination is simply a mistake going into 2006 and the future. Mr. Jackson said before finishing a project " He as sub-contractor has in many incidents been removed from a project from the (contractor) and was given seven (7) days to do a job and was ran off the property before it was finished and give the work to someone else to do" only because he the contractor could. Many of these contractors get the work because they have a minority contractor on the job when they bid for it, and often these contractors are awarded because of having a minority contractor.
Only to fire the minority contractor when it is convince for them (contractor) and gave the bulk of the workload to a non-minority (white) person.The walls of injustice need to be torn down and rebuilt so that social structure or reorganization is done. Our society continues to put-up walls so our low-income farmers and ranchers can't survive in an industry that many farmers and ranchers have made a living at for centuries. Although racism and discrimination was even stronger then, many are being push out due to economics, technology, and rules changes, and discrimination. The contracts are wordy, the loan applications from banks and other lending organizations are extremely difficult to understand, and many of our farmers and ranchers are illiterate even in the 21st century.
Tearing down the walls must be our first priority in 2006, because many of these issues with this growing problem between our farmers and ranchers will continue to exist. Partly the blame is the government that fuels these problems and partly the blame lies on our farmers stand-up and fighting for equal justice through voting and lobbying your congressional representatives. But we need to stop the existing discrimination and injustice against our farmers NOW.
USDA self described "indifference and blatant discrimination" against blacks in federal lending practices and programs from 1981 to 1996. But the lawsuit resolution just got people stirred-up and problems escalated with no resolve. The accountability in these matters continues to exalt and we as taxpayers, grocery buyers, professionals, look the other way or just don't understand the issues.
Many community base organizations and Politians see these problems as never ending, but ending this long-term problem is our way out. District and Ward representatives are not focused enough on the social dysfunction displayed in Rural America, that's one of the reasons, Senator Kerry loss the presidential election in 2004 in the south. Rural America families are not being addressed in the issues when it comes to our Socially Disadvantages Farmers and Ranchers. This is very similar to our people of New Orleans, that are in need but we won't help them either, because society rather see poor people in need then to help them lift up there heads from drowning in a sea of nowhere. Drowning is a way that society say we can't help you because you are already lost in poverty. Tearing down the walls should be our first priority in 2006 and getting rid of the term Socially Disadvantage.
Helping generations of family farmers and ranchers become more independent in this billion-dollar industry..By Dennis S. Murray Sr.
By: Dennis Murray