Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0266
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Full Text of SR0266  103rd General Assembly




SR0266LRB103 32277 MST 61540 r


2    WHEREAS, In 1920, Illinois had 892 Black farmers, and
3African Americans owned 14 percent of the nation's farmland;
5    WHEREAS, As of the 2017 USDA Agricultural Census, there
6are 188 individually Black-owned farms which make up a
7combined 40,412 acres; out of the 116,417 agricultural
8producers in Illinois, 267 are Black and 115,896 are
9Caucasian; and
10    WHEREAS, According to the USDA's National Statistics
11Service, as of April 2019, Illinois had 72,000 farms;
12Illinois' farmland covers 27 million acres, which is
13approximately 75% of the state's total land area; and
14    WHEREAS, As farming has become a big business, it has
15become one of the least diverse businesses in our state; the
16pressure to consolidate that has reduced the ranks of farmers
17for the past century is making any turnaround unlikely; and
18    WHEREAS, The number of Black farmers in Illinois appears
19destined to eventually be reduced to zero; the numbers are
20dwindling across much of the Midwest; and



SR0266- 2 -LRB103 32277 MST 61540 r

1    WHEREAS, The scarcity of African American farmers stems
2from our troubled history as well; racial discrimination
3played a big role in driving Blacks off their land in southern
4states; for sharecroppers, farming was associated with the
5poverty and backbreaking labor of slavery; for those who owned
6land, unequal treatment made it difficult to retain the
7property and earn a living; as recently as the mid-1990s,
8white farmers who agreed to sell crops would routinely get
9better prices at market; and
10    WHEREAS, In a landmark legal settlement, the U.S.
11Agriculture Department acknowledged that it had abused Black
12farmers for generations when agents approved only a fraction
13of financing requests, delayed loans until after the planting
14season, and withheld other key payments; and
15    WHEREAS, Only in a few southern states have the ranks of
16Black farmers shown a notable increase; therefore, be it
18ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we urge the Illinois
19Department of Agriculture to study the effects and the types
20of land loss to Black farmers from post slavery until now; and
21be it further
22    RESOLVED, That we call for state support and capacity



SR0266- 3 -LRB103 32277 MST 61540 r

1building for Black farming communities across Illinois and a
2dedication to helping grow agriculture in rural, urban, and
3suburban areas to meet food access demands and increase
4economic resilience in vulnerable food desert communities; and
5be it further
6    RESOLVED, That Black farmers can play a leading role in
7our local healthy food system and create regional networks of
8jobs, food, and opportunities; and be it further
9    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
10delivered to the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the
11National Black Farmers Association.