Baca provision increases funding to minority farming programs
The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to increase funding to assist minority and socially disadvantaged farmers as a part of the Agriculture Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2006.
The House passed an amendment by Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. David Scott (D-GA) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), to increase funding to the 2501 Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher program by $2 million from $5.935 million to $7.935 million.
The program provides grants for outreach and technical assistance to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and operate farms and ranches and to participate in agricultural programs. These grants may also be awarded to Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities that engage in outreach to minority farmers.
"This funding helps to mitigate a long history of unequal treatment of minority farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already paid over $1 billion to settle discrimination lawsuits. By investing in the 2501 program, we can improve relationships between the USDA and socially disadvantaged farmers, and prevent future lawsuits. This small investment could save millions of dollars in the future."
"Properly funding minority initiatives at the USDA is necessary to permanently end a history of discrimination. We must rebuild the trust between minority communities and the USDA."