Farm groups release statements denouncing racism


As more communities are participating and reacting to the protests after the death of George Floyd, farm groups have been releasing statements calling for unity and equality.

In a press release, the National Farmer’s Union released the following statement:

“The killing of George Floyd was an abuse of power and a horrifying act of violence– but what is even more horrifying is that this is not a rare or isolated incident. People of color are far more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts; black Americans account for just 13 percent of the overall population, but 26 percent of fatal police shootings. But police brutality doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s just one of many examples of racism in our country – in criminal justice, financial services, health care, voting, education, and elsewhere.

“If we stand idly by while our friends and neighbors suffer – as too many of us have done for too long – we are complicit in their suffering. Now is the time to step up, to heal these wounds, to build a just and equal society. This will not be a quick or easy task – to overcome the terrible legacy of racism in this country, we all must reflect on our own privileges and prejudices, rethink our institutions, and demand structural change. The road ahead of us may be long and uncomfortable, but it is our moral obligation to traverse it.”

Similar comments were issued by the National Family Farmers Coalition, the National Young Farmers Coalition, and the Farmer Veterans Coalition, all pointing to the challenges racism creates in agriculture.

NFU President, Rob Larew, spoke to DNT last week acknowledging racism is a difficult issue for his organization to call out, saying,

“This isn’t a time necessarily for lecturing. It’s not our story. But what we can do is make sure that the story gets out there and that learning begins and listening so that those members who do have that experience, they understand that they have a way to be heard. Maybe we can have that conversation -- that really is an uncomfortable conversation. It’s way overdue.”

Dewayne Goldman, an Arkansas farmer and executive director of the National Black Growers Council also spoke to DTN saying Floyd’s death has brought more attention to problems that have been prevalent in the US and agriculture. He also pointed out that only about 32,000 farmers out of more than 2 million are identified as African American.

“And so from a numbers standpoint, you’re talking about a pretty small sliver of the U.S. population,” Goldman said to DTN. “But when you have a situation that’s as atrocious as the recent brutality, as black farmers we feel it.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation also released a statement saying,

“Our hearts go out to the family of George Floyd and others who have suffered as a result of racial injustice. We strongly oppose racial discrimination and believe just treatment by law enforcement is essential to maintain public trust and to uphold our Constitution. We also believe we have a responsibility across our society to honestly examine, identify and address racism.”

Full statements can be found below:

American Farm Bureau Federation: Statement Addressing Racism

National Farmers Union: Condemns Police Brutality, Calls for National Effort to Address Racism

National Family Farm Coalition: In Solidarity for Racial Equity and Justice

National Young Farmers Coalition: Young Farmers For Black Lives

Farmer Veteran Coalition: Statement