OKLAHOMA CITY, December 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom vilsack, announced on November 24, 2021 that the United States Department of Agriculture will provide approximately $ 75 million in American rescue plan funding to 20 organizations, providing assistance to connect underserved producers to USDA programs and services. However, of the 20 organizations expected to receive funding – there is not a single organization focused on empowering minority women farmers – a neglected and underfunded group that continues to face systemic discrimination and inequality. Representing those excluded from this essential funding and support is the National Association of Women in Agriculture [NWIAA]. Based in Oklahoma, NWIAA was founded in 2008 by Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele, a fourth generation black farmer. Today, NWIAA is the largest nonprofit women in agriculture organization of its kind with 40 US state chapters.
For more than 13 years, Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele has sought to pass legislation that will redistribute the balance of power and funding to effect substantial change in the agricultural sector. The mission of the NWIAA is to engage minority youth and women farmers to reach their full potential while advancing in agriculture – providing them with the life skills, career opportunities and mentorship they need to become successful citizens. .
The educational programs of the NWIAA have attracted the attention of the highest political voices. Former US Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas shares his support, commenting: “The NWIAA has worked tirelessly to reach minority youth across the country to prepare them for a future in agriculture – providing essential leadership for efforts to provide education. and training that lead to professional careers in food production and green works. “
The exclusion from US bailout funding conforms to a centuries-old pattern of inequality with unfair legislation and discriminatory practices hampering progress. This includes the 1914 Smith-Lever Act – still in force today. The Smith Lever Act was originally intended to help urban black farmers; however, it has almost exclusively benefited white farmers – and has only been changed once in over 100 times since its enactment. The NWIAA has put in place new legislation to address this continuing deprivation of resources – advocating for The law on the inclusion of women and children in minority situations. This would increase targeted funding for Land-Grant colleges, which currently only share 6% of annual Smith-Lever credits of $ 300 million. The legislation also seeks to involve minority youth in agriculture, making the NWIAA a pilot provider of 4-H and FFA services to disproportionately marginalized populations. The continued denial of funding from the USDA makes the Equality of Women and Children Act for Equality of Women and Children more urgent than ever.
NWIAA advocates for the sustainable support of minority children and women farmers who are NOT currently reached by valuable USDA extension programs and US bailout funding. Women farmers need to be part of the conversation and plant.
PR contact: Simone Rathlé | simoneink, llc | [email protected] | 202.422.6432
Image 1: National Association of Women in Agriculture
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National Association of Women in Agriculture