For Immediate Release
Shane Tan (firstname.lastname@example.org)/Neshani Jani (email@example.com)
Farmers, Food and Farm Groups Applaud New Federal Rule Addressing Discrimination in Agricultural Lending
Washington D.C. (March 31, 2023) – Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its final rule under Section 1071, requiring financial institutions, including lenders in the Farm Credit System, to track and report business and commercial loan applicant demographics, including race and gender. This rule is a major victory for family farmers, and for food and farm groups who were instrumental in pushing the CFPB to track and address discrimination in agricultural lending.
On September 14, 2022, over 100 organizations including the HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance, the National Young Farmers Coalition, the Rural Coalition and Self-Help, signed on to a letter to Congress supporting the Section 1071 rule, and opposing a bill to exempt the Farm Credit Administration, an agency tasked with regulating the financial institutions that provide credit to farmers, from the rule. Below are statements from independent farmers, and some of the groups supporting the Farm Credit Administration’s inclusion under the 1071 rule:
- “Life as a Black farmer has been a difficult journey for my family. On my father’s side, my family were all farmers who built large farms in Iowa. They lost the farming legacy because they were never allowed to own land due to racist economic programs that directed resources to white farmers” said Angela Dawson, a 4th-generation farmer and land sustainability specialist at the Forty Acre Co-op, the first national Black farming cooperative in the U.S. since Reconstruction. “I also have experienced first hand racist practices by commercial and agricultural lenders, which is why I applaud 1071 as the first step towards rectifying the past and present harm done to Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color. We should all have access to the necessary capital to farm in sustainable ways, and all lenders should be accountable to standards of equity and fairness.”
- “The final CFPB rule is pro-farmer and pro-rural communities because it will help give everyone, especially Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color who continue to face discrimination by banking entities, a fair shot at credit that builds wealth,” said Maleeka Manurasada, National Organizer for HEAL Food Alliance. “At a time when small farmers across the country are struggling to sustain their farms, this kind of transparency and accountability in lending is exactly what we need.”
- “Working together with farmers, advocates and other stakeholders, and policy makers, we aim to realize a vision for a more just agricultural future. Good data is critical to developing and implementing good policy and good governance. As the President stated in his Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity ‘…a first step to promoting equity in Government action is to gather the data necessary to inform that effort.’ This CFPB rule will help do exactly that,” said David Howard, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at Young Farmers.
- “The Farm Credit System is a government-sponsored enterprise created by Congress, and the public deserves to know who is and who is not getting Farm Credit loans. In fact, Farm Credit lenders already report their mortgage lending demographics as required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and they should be required to do so for their agriculture lending as well,” said David Beck, Policy Director at Self-Help, a national CDFI headquartered in Durham, NC.
The HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance is a national multi-sector, multi-racial coalition. HEAL is led by its member-organizations, who represent about two million rural and urban farmers, ranchers, fishers, farm and food chain workers, Indigenous groups, scientists, public health advocates, policy experts, and community organizers united in their commitment to transformed food and farm systems. www.healfoodalliance.org
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots advocacy organization working to shift power and change policy to equitably resource our new generation of working farmers. Young Farmers envisions a just future where farming is free of racial violence, accessible to communities, oriented towards environmental well-being, and concerned with health over profit. www.youngfarmers.org
Self-Help, founded in Durham in 1980, is a nonprofit community development lender, real estate developer, and credit union that serves communities traditionally underserved by conventional markets. Self-Help has provided over $9.1 billion in financing to more than 154,000 families, small businesses and nonprofits across the country.