Financed to launch a new cohort for Black farmers, the National Minority Supplier Development Council has gained a $120,000 grant from agricultural giant Cargill.
The Black Famers Equity Initiative between the large business advocacy group for minority businesses and Cargill is intended to elevate agricultural supply chain access for those Black entrepreneurs.
The push aims to create a pathway for emerging Black farmers to achieve parity in the agriculture industry with learning solutions, certification, lending, networking, and new contracts.
The initiative unfolded after McKinsey & Company reported just 1.4% of farmers today identify as Black or mixed race, compared with about 14% a century ago. Moreover, the statistics revealed Black farmers account for less than 0.5% of total U.S. farm sales. The lack of equity in America’s agricultural industry, coupled with Cargill’s support, led to the initiative.
Jetheda Hernandez, senior director, strategic alliances and programming at NMSDC.
“We are excited to work with these incredible farmers as they grow their businesses, build generational wealth, and provide much needed resilience to our nation’s agricultural supply chain,”
Members taking part in the first cohort will complete an eight-week learning curriculum focused on growing their capacity to participate on major national contracts with NMSDC’s corporate members. The participants will also gain strategic business support that includes NMSDC certification.
According to NMSDC, members of the Black farms that are cohorts include:
- Richard Francis aka Farmer Chippy–Francis owns Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm, located on five acres of land in Maryland. Its main commodities are pepper and herbs.
- Antron Williams–Williams owns Mahogany Farms LLC. Its main commodities are corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat on 550 acres of land in South Carolina.
- Sidney and Shane Lovelace–The Lovelaces (father and son) own Lovelace Farms. Its main commodities are cows and hay on 150 acres of land in Kentucky.
- D. Spencer Riley – Riley owns Orgaceutical. Its main commodities are leafy vegetables and microgreens, on 5 acres of land in Pennsylvania.
- Michael Rollen–Rollen owns Ophelia’s Blue Vine Farm. Its main commodities are herbs and spices on an acre of land in Missouri.
- Kimberly Ratcliff–Ratcliff owns Caney Creek Ranch and Farm to Freezer Meat Company. Its main commodities are Charbray cattle and feed resources on 2,500 acres of land in Texas.
- Cherie Jzar–Jzar owns Deep Roots. Its main commodities are vegetables, flowers, fruits, berries, herbs, apiaries, and animals on 7 acres of land in North Carolina.
- Harold Singletary–Singletary owns BrightMa Farms. Its main commodity is hemp on 96 acres of land in South Carolina.
- Immanuel Jarvis–Jarvis owns Jireh Family Farm. Its main commodities are permaculture pigs, rabbits, goats, and meat chickens on 4 acres of land in North Carolina.
- Dr. Michael Lloyd–Lloyd owns Num Num Sauce Farms. Its main commodity is tomatoes on 2 acres of land in Georgia.
- James E Davis, Jr.–Davis owns Bales and Bushels. Its main commodity is cotton on 2,200 acres of land in Louisiana.