John Boyd Jr., 46, president, National Black Farmers Association, Baskerville, Va.
I’m a fourth-generation farmer, and my dad is a farmer. My dad’s father was a farmer, his father was a farmer, and his father was a slave. The farm that my grandfather had has been in the family for over 100 years and passed down from generation to generation.
It’s been an uphill battle, not only for myself, but for thousands of other black farmers from around the country. Out here in these rural communities, most black farm families [know] other black farm families in the community. Most of us had family land. Most of us had generational knowledge of farming, grew up on
a farm. We’ve endured discrimination, not getting any loans.
We were all struggling to hold onto our farms because we didn’t have any money. Some of them don’t have running water. Many of them don’t have telephones. In 1995, I said, “We can form an organization that addresses the needs and the problems of black farmers.” Continue reading