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More Black farmers equals more generational wealth

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

There is power in owning your own food-producing land. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why lawmakers and people in leadership have made it difficult for Black people to become landowners over the last few centuries.


Between 1910 and 1997, African Americans lost about 90% of their farmland, according to Waterkeepers Chesapeake. One of the main causes of this property loss is heirs’ property. It was (and still is) very common for descendants of Black land owners to not inherit their family’s land because they had no will or legal documentation that proves their land ownership.


Black people’s loss of land goes deep. In the early 1900s, many Black men were lynched because white landowners wanted their land. So it should come as no surprise that today less than 2 percent of farmers in the U.S. are Black. If you don’t have land, you can’t farm large-scale.


Despite the systemic hurdles in the farming industry, Black farmers are reclaiming their space. We spoke with two local farmers who are actively working to educate more people on farming and getting fresh foods to more families.

Jacquel Curry

Mobile Farm Manager at Baton Roots

Baker, LA


How do you feel when you’re on the farm? What does it do for your mental and physical health?

Farming gives me mixed feelings throughout the year, from therapeutic to exhaustion. But in the end it’s always rewarding because I get to see the results of my labor.


What are some of the most important benefits you have experienced from farming?

Being able to teach the next generation the importance of growing their own food organically and sustainably.


Why do you think farmers of color account for only 2% of agricultural land in the U.S.?

I think the biggest reason is land that was owned by the previous generations is now heirs’ property, meaning that when the previous owners died and they didn’t leave a will. Now, that land belongs to all the living descendants which lead to so many problems such as descendants fighting over land, struggling to gather everybody’s signatures so they can put it in one person's name, the selling of the land, usually to whites because we simply don’t have a full understanding of why it’s important to own land, and/or etc. I’m currently going through this issue now with three different properties on both sides of my family.


What is the hardest part about being a farmer? What about being a Black farmer?

The hardest part about being a farmer is troubleshooting every and any situation that pops up like irrigation, soil health, etc. The difficult part about being a Black farmer is understanding the legal side of the industry and having access to the right resources. A lot of that has to do with the years of discrimination from the government.


To you, why is it important for more Black people to become farmers?

I believe if we have more Black farmers we can have more access to healthier and more affordable produce within our communities. Also, we can start reclaiming some of our land back that we lost over the years.


What is your advice for people who want to get started with a farming career?

I advise them to become a mentee or apprentice for another Black farmer. Also, go to conferences to network with other farmers and get a better understanding of the business and financial side of the farming industry.

How can people get connected with other Black farmers in Louisiana?

Southern University’s Ag Center has great virtual and in-person seminars and conferences for farmers of color and minorities that are really great. Also, being part of Louisiana everybody knows everybody, so just simply ask another Black farmer and they can lead you to many more within and outside the state of Louisiana.



DeQuincy Jones Sr.

Commercial farmer and owner of

Sweet Jones Farms

Greensburg, LA


Why did you become a farmer?

I don’t think it was a choice. It was a calling. I started doing research on generational wealth. It was attached to land, and land that generates income. I want to make sure my son’s sons have wealth.


How do you feel when you’re on the farm? What does it do for your mental and physical health?

It's probably 98% mental to physical. It gotta be in you, not on you. On the farm, you get real connected to God more than people would know.


Why do you think farmers of color account for only 2% of agricultural land in the U.S.?

Black people can grow the food but they don't have a place to distribute it. We don't own enough of the system. We need capital, infrastructure…we’re not just gonna jump back up.


What is the hardest part about being a farmer? What about being a Black farmer?

You have no say so unless you create your own infrastructure. It would be the lack of capital and say so. They control the food prices, farmers don’t. As a black farmer: Not having enough money to have my infrastructure, and be self-sufficient so I can spend all my days training other farmers.


To you, why is it important for more Black people to become farmers?

Generational wealth. Black people have a significantly higher chance of passing on generational wealth if they had land. There isn't enough fresh food that's accessible to people in America. This isn't ever going out of business. Every black family should have some type of farm. Even if it's one acre of lettuce. When you control the food, you control the people.

What is your advice for people who want to get started with a farming career?

Stop second-guessing your calling. It's a calling, not an occupation. If you’ve been thinking about it, it's time to do it. The demand for fresh food is going to always increase. There shouldn't be a food shortage. It’s pandemic-proof.


How can people get connected with other Black farmers in Louisiana?

Via Sweets Jones Farms. We connect Black farmers and help them get hands-on training.

Anything else?

It's an unspoken opportunity for Louisiana to start being more self-sufficient on food. We need more vegetable mass-producing fields in our state so we can stop importing from out of the country. We don’t need more Black farmers, we need more Black commercial farmers.



Other Black farmers in Louisiana to know:


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