From Frugivore — American farmers represent less than 3% of the population, and less than 2% of American farmers are black. There are many factors that contribute to the decline of black farming careers, including the general decrease in farming jobs, the black community’s historical relationship with raising crops, and poverty that forces the sale of farmland. Post the civil war, black farm ownership peaked at 15 million acres of land by 1920. During this period, there were 926,000 black farmers spanning various regions in the country, and fewer than 10,000 were in the south. Unfortunately, fewer than 20,000, or 1% of all farmers, were black by 1997, and black farmland ownership had decreased to two million acres.
What happened? Well, the answer is complicated. For one, the USDA decreased black farmers’ loans, forcing them to miss planting opportunities, and denied them equipment grants along with other subsidies that were readily available to white farmers. While white farmers were able to grow their farms and business, black farmers were suffering from discrimination. As the rule of farming often reflects more land equaling larger profits, these unfair lending practices limited the survival of black farmers, forcing most to sell their land and choose another profession.