23 February 2022, Wayzata: Cargill’s Black Farmer Equity initiative was introduced one year ago to help address racial inequity in agriculture – focusing on increasing participation, profitability and productivity of Black farmers, ranchers and growers. Working alongside its customers, Cargill is committed to supporting farmer livelihoods by improving market access, is training 10 million farmers globally by 2030 and is increasing supplier diversity by spending $10 billion with small businesses and $1 billion with certified diverse-owned businesses globally.
As the program celebrates its first year, Cargill is sharing progress, including support to groups across the United States. These partners will work together to increase access to markets, capital, information and technology for Black farmers. In the first year, those joining the initiative include:
- National Black Growers Council
- 100 Ranchers
- Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation
- Share Farm
- Communities Unlimited
- Tuskegee University’s Carver Integrative Sustainability Center
- National Minority Supplier Development Council
Initial supply chain programs were launched to expand opportunities, access to capital and markets for farmers in cotton and beef. The initiative will continue increasing the number of Black producers in these supply chains, while adding others, including corn, yellow peas, poultry and soybeans, each year. Cargill is also currently recruiting farmers to participate, with specific focus on Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas.
“Programs like Cargill’s Black Farmer Equity Initiative provide new ways for Black producers to access markets and sell their livestock and crops. We’re looking for an open door where they have been closed in the past,” said Kimberly Ratcliff, a second-generation rancher and executive director of the 100 Ranchers, Inc. “Cargill’s support of 100 Ranchers will help increase Black producers’ bottom line and improve their livelihoods by producing high-quality products.”
“We know there are no easy fixes, and the challenges we’re facing have deep roots,” said James Monger, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion champion in Cargill’s Agriculture Supply Chain. “That influenced our approach. We are taking focused action by building deep partnerships with Black producers and making connections with our customers. As we begin to see progress, we intend to expand the reach of this program to include more farmers, more crops and more geographies.”
Advancing Black Farmer Equity in Agriculture
In the United States, Black farmers make up less than 2% of the country’s 3.4 million farmers, and there has been a 90% decrease in Black farm ownership. This is the result of the alarming decline of Black farmers and a legacy of historic systemic inequality that has existed in the United States.
“We are committed to helping dismantle racism that exists within the food and agriculture sector in the U.S. Our efforts include purposeful work within Cargill, but we also know we have an opportunity and responsibility to advance the industry, starting with the work we do every day with farmers and within key supply chains,” said Greg Jones, Cargill Chief Diversity Officer. “We listened to Black producers with our customers. We learned a lot about the barriers and history of broken trust. We know we can do better.”
Cargill is currently recruiting for additional partners and farmer participants. If you’re a customer or producer interested in joining the Black Farmer Equity Initiative, contact us.