The Hidden Benefits of Supporting Aid to Ukraine – U.S. Farming Isn’t Buying It

A significant figure in the U.S. farming industry has criticized the Biden administration and the government at large for sending funds to foreign powers while domestic farmers struggle.

NBFA Speaks

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Leader of the National Black Farmers Association John Boyd Jr. has spoken out against President Biden and the White House for sending billions of dollars in aid to foreign countries while farmers across the country struggle to stay afloat.

“We’re Facing Extinction”

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“Quite frankly, we’re facing extinction today,” said Boyd Jr., who comes from a family of farmers who have been working and producing in Mecklenburg County, Virginia for 4 generations. 

More Commitment to Foreign Countries

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He told Fox News that the government’s “commitment to help foreign countries” flew in the face of the average struggling American.

“We probably helped Ukraine [with] $100 billion or so, and we can’t get debt relief for American citizens in this country.”

$95 Billion for National Security

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Currently, President Biden and many other Democrat and Republican lawmakers are trying to pass a $95 billion deal through the House.

Aid for Foreign Nations

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The substantial package, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and parts of the Indo-Pacific, has already been passed in the Senate. 

Millions for Ukrainian Farmers

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What’s more, the U.S. government has also sent hundreds of millions to Ukrainian farmers.

Last year the U.S. aid chief Samantha Powers declared that it was in the U.S.’ best interests to help farmers in Ukraine “stay in business.”

Mismatched Priorities?

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Boyd is just one of many U.S. farmers who have voiced their frustrations over what they see as the government’s neglect of domestic farmers who are also languishing in the U.S.

Calls for Debt Relief

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“In one instance, we even provided Ukraine farmers with financial relief,” Boyd continued listing the different commitments the U.S. had made to foreign nationals.

“Everyone frowns when I say that they should live up to their commitment for debt relief for America’s farmers.”

Farmland Prices Soar

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American farmers have been hit by a wave of foreclosures in recent years. Farmland prices have been rising since before the Covid-19 pandemic, and average prices increased by nearly 8% in a single year in 2023.

Older farmers have had to foreclose, while younger farmers have been pushed out of the market entirely.

Advocating Against Foreclosures and Discrimination

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Boyd has continued to advocate against foreclosures, on the basis that the government has made it too hard for smaller-scale farms to survive.

He has also advocated for Black farmers, who face the dual issues of financial struggle and racial discrimination.

Beef Industry Hit Hard

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He claimed that a lack of investment from the government has had a devastating effect, particularly on beef cattle farmers, who he claims are producing “1 billion pounds less of America’s beef than we did last year this time.”

Lack of Investment is the Problem

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Much of Boyd’s assertions come from direct experience on his own farms. “I’ve been producing beef for 41 years, and I just came from the livestock market and there are empty stalls,” he continued.

“It’s because we’re not investing in America’s farmers, and they can’t hold on so they’re depleting their herds.”

“Nobody’s Saying a Word”

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He asserted that U.S. farms are the backbone of the nation’s food industry, and the consequences of the ongoing lack of support would be dire.

“These are real issues,” he explained. “And if we don’t face them, we are going to be begging other countries to send us food instead of supporting America’s farmers.” 

Dire Warnings

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The NBFA President has warned that if major changes aren’t made in terms of federal funding and legislation, there won’t be enough farms left  to meet U.S. needs. 

A Bipartisan Problem

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And he has urged Americans to see the topic as a bipartisan issue, and not a divisive one.

“You have an enormous amount of resources to help farmers in Ukraine, who aren’t U.S. citizens,” he said. “Republican, Democrat, independent. Man, that’s bad politics.”

Appreciation for Boyd

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A spokesperson for the White House issued a statement voicing their appreciation for Boyd’s work, particularly as it concerned his work advocating for Black farmers and “the insights he provides on the struggles Black farmers are facing.”

Invitation to Meet

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The White House asserted that they had also invited Boyd and other public figures in the farming industry to a meeting in Washington that would focus on “advancing equity and opportunity in agriculture.”  

The Inflation Reduction Act

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The statement also mentioned the Inflation Reduction Act, which granted hundreds of millions in federal investment to improve land access for farmers via the US Department of Agriculture.

But many believe that the Act was not enough to curb the record numbers of U.S. farms that are going out of business.

USDA 2022 Census of Agriculture

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The USDA 2022 Census of Agriculture shows that farmland is being vacuumed up by industrial “mega-farms.”

The most affected groups are small farms that take up less than 10 acres and have declined by 17% in 25 years.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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