E-Letter To Alternet.org and Carol Estes Re: A Second Chance For Black Farmers?
Your article A Second Chance For Black Farmers? is an excellent chronology/history of the plight of the Black Farmer. The treatment that these Brothers and Sisters have received over the years is an absolute indictment on this country and the policies of this government towards Blacks.
You just about covered it all - even providing us with a ray or two of hope. However, there is one big factor that you have not included in your piece and maybe one that you never thought over, that we have been writing about for two years now, in relation to the Black farmer. That factor being the impact that Federal Reserve policy has on the commodities markets; the amount of liquidity circulating in the global marketplace; the amount of credit extended to small businesses and enterprises; and the creation of monetary deflation. If you would add that aspect to your critique, it would paint just about a complete picture of the excruciating pain that our Black farmers are enduring.
I personally made some of these arguments to then Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, in 1999. I did so in front of a group of Black Farmers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. You can read about it by clicking The Black Farmer, the CBC and Deflation II.
But to give you the essence of the argument, here is a small portion of a letter that I wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan this year:
"The monetary deflation that you have permitted has caused prices to be dragged down in a chain reaction. First to fall was the price of gold, then oil, metals, farm commodities, land values and finally wages. The drop in farm commodities was devastating. According to the Commodity Research Bureau, among other crops, from 1996 to 1999, the price of corn fell 32% and the price of wheat fell 42%. This dramatic drop in prices was most harmful to Black farmers who were smacked twice - first in that they had to pay back loans obtained in the early 1990s with dollars significantly more valuable than the ones they borrowed, in terms of gold, in the latter part of the decade. And secondly, because these farmers were and are among the poorest farmers in this country, the drop in farm commodity prices hit them the hardest. When these two factors are combined with the fact that the Black farmers have been discriminated against and denied credit by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is easy to see that these men and women were placed in an almost impossible economic situation over the last decade."
I hope that you will consider adding this argument to your wonderful perspective.
Wednesday, July 18, 2001