Adoption of Sustainable Farming and Ranching Practices among African-American Farmers: Helping and Hindering Factors and the Role of the 2008 Farm Bill
The purpose of this project is to determine (1) the extent to which African-American farmers and ranchers in four Deep South states (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina) engage in sustainable agricultural practices, (2) the factors that encourage or impede their adoption, and (3) whether or not key provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill as implemented foster or hinder their transition to such practices.
Farmers – Survey Results attached
We have also interviewed agriculture specialists and have interviewed farmers in depth and that we are NOW processing – to be submitted in a report.
- Minority Farmers Count and Percent 2013
- Minority Farmers Pie Chart 2013
- Minority Farmers Cross Tab 3 2013
- Minority Famers cumulative countpercent 2013
- Minority Farmers Bar Graphs 2013
- Minority Farmers Cross Tab 2 2013
HYPOTHESIS: Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFR) are not accessing Farm Bill programs targeted at their needs to the degree that other farmers are accessing these programs.
1) Determine the extent to which African-American producers (Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers) in four Deep South states engage in certain sustainable agricultural practices.
2) Determine the extent to which all farmers access the targeted federal programs.
3) Determine the factors that encourage or impede the adoption of these sustainable practices
4) Determine whether or not key provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill as implemented foster their transition to such practices.
5) Determine whether changes can be made in regulations implementing the 2008 Farm Bill and/or language in the 2012 Farm Bill to better facilitate the transition of Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers to sustainable farming and ranching.
To achieve our objectives in the grant regarding the extent to which African American farmers utilize sustainable practices and what impedes the use of these practices we have developed a questionnaire for farmers as well as implementation of key provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.
The questionnaire was developed by the Federation project team, along with consultants from Morehouse College and Tuskegee University. Our Morehouse College consultant then did a call survey of 128 farmers using the questionnaire. The farmers were from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. We have submitted the results of the survey to SARE.
The project also calls for in-depth interviews with 10 farmers and 10 agriculture specialists regarding the use of sustainable practices in the African American agriculture community. We have completed these interviews as well. We are now, in the next few months, to have these transcribed and placed in a manuscript form to be used for subsequent meetings with farmers and agriculture specialists.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The initial survey of farmers revealed that African American farmers are not significantly using sustainable practices. For example when asked about insect and weed management close to half (48%) are using chemicals however 33% are removing weeds physically; only 15% are growing organically. They also revealed the following regarding impediments to sustainable practices: 19% said they did not have enough information; 21% said they did not have the funds necessary for sustainable practices; and 12% said they did not have the equipment needed for these practices.
The agriculture specialists recognized the need for more outreach to farmers and were exploring the best ways to do this. Some stated that small groups at family farms and/or on-site demonstrations were the best ways to educate farmers – this opposed to workshops at formal settings. A much more in-depth report on all these explorations and recommendations will be forthcoming once all the findings and interviews have been compiled.
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Tukegee, AL 36088
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