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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2022 01:22 PM
From: Representative Danilo Burgos
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing a Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission
Each and every Pennsylvanian has the ability to touch, feel, and taste our state’s bountiful fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and other agricultural goods. That said, not every Pennsylvanian has the same opportunity to help grow and produce it or participate in the Commonwealth’s $133 billion agricultural industry. This inequality is perhaps most glaring in the number of farms with producers of color. While 99.32% of Pennsylvania farms have white producers, only .0008% have black producers, .008% have Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish producers, .001% have Asian producers, and .001% have 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. To address this issue, I intend to introduce legislation to establish a Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission, which would be tasked with reviewing current policies and issuing a report with recommendations to promote and implement a farm-related diversity, equity, and inclusion plan.
This commission and its action plan would 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 in Pennsylvania. The commission’s report would 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 credits 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 and in the agriculture community at large, as well as in retail food establishments.
 (9) Policies to improve agricultural education and career opportunities in Economic Justice Areas.
(10) Other aspects identified by the commission.
Farming and agricultural industries have been a cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy and culture since its founding. Our state is home to more than 7.3 billion acres of farmland, employing and supporting nearly 600,000 people to produce nearly $8 billion of agricultural products each year.
Please join me in support of this legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Socially Diverse Farmers Commission so that we can determine policies that are needed to open our state’s agriculture industry to a more diverse generation of farmers.

Introduced as HB767