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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 10, 2021 11:14 AM
From: Representative Danilo Burgos
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing the Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission
Each and every Pennsylvanian has the ability to touch, feel and taste Pennsylvania’s bountiful fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy and other agricultural goods. But not every Pennsylvanian has the same opportunity to help grow and produce it or participate in Pennsylvania’s $135.7 billion agricultural industry. In Pennsylvania, this inequality is perhaps most glaring in the number of farms with producers of color. While 99.78% of PA Farms have white producers, only .002% have black producers, .01% have Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Producers, .002% have Asian producers, and .005% with Native or Alaskan producers.
These numbers are the result of decades of intentional and unintentional national and state agricultural policies that unequally benefit white farmers while hindering or harming farmers of color. That’s why in the near future I intend to introduce legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission to review current policies and produce a report making recommendations to promote and implement a Commonwealth diversity, equity and inclusion plan within the Department of Agriculture.
This commission and their action plan will be aimed at improving opportunities for socially diverse and disadvantaged farmers and those in Economic Justice Areas to thrive by seeking to eliminate disparities for historically socially disadvantaged groups and BIPOC populations in Pennsylvania. The commission’s report will make reviews and recommendations with regard to:
(1)  Education and career opportunities for socially disadvantaged individuals, farmers, and groups
(2)  Current issues facing socially disadvantaged farmers.
(3)  Grant awards and tax credit process for socially disadvantaged farmers.
(4)  Statutory impacts on socially disadvantaged farmers.
(5)  Capital access for socially disadvantaged farmers.
(6)  Land access for socially disadvantaged farmers.
(7)  Local government impacts on socially disadvantaged farmers.
(7) Diversity and inclusion training on farms, in retail food establishments and in the ag community including but not limited to county fairs.
 (9) Policies to improve agricultural education and career opportunities in Economic Justice Areas.
(10) Other aspects identified by the commission.
Farming and Agriculture have been a cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy and culture since its founding. Agriculture and its associated industries provide Pennsylvania with $135.7 billion in annual economic impact, employing and supporting nearly 580,000 people while injecting $27 billion in wages. It’s time to establish the Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission to determine what policies are needed to open PA’s ag industry to a more diverse generation of PA farmers to grow and produce the high-quality foods that feed our families and economy.

Introduced as HB1301