NMSDC Announces Soul of the Soil: Black Farmer Opportunity Exchange to Advance Equity in Agriculture

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NMSDC is hosting the Soul of the Soil: Black Farmer Opportunity Exchange, a gathering that aims to shed light on the challenges faced by Black farmers and foster collaborative discussions to chart a path toward equity within the industry. The event will take place at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino on June 29 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and includes an impressive lineup of industry leaders and esteemed panelists who are at the forefront of advocating for change.

The Soul of the Soil: Black Farmer Opportunity Exchange is a carefully curated event designed to expose the harsh realities of the agricultural inequities faced by Black farmers. By bringing together industry leaders, stakeholders, and key organizations, NMSDC aims to leverage their collective power, wealth, and networks to foster equity within the agricultural landscape.

Several important conversations will take place during the event including:

  • A panel discussion titled Breaking Ground: The Power of the Black Farmer, moderated by Ma’at LaTham of Sunfired. Panelists include James Davis, Jr. of Bushels and Bales Farms, a representative from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Valencia Cooper of Cargill, which will bring together diverse perspectives to address the challenges faced by Black farmers and explore potential solutions.
  • A presentation from Tamara Maxwell of EXIM about opportunities in exporting, highlighting avenues for Black farmers to expand their reach and tap into international markets.
  • A fireside chat on the benefits of NMSDC certification featuring Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC) Regional Director of MBE Services Mark Samuel and NMSDC Senior Director Constance Jones, delving into the advantages of certification and how it can support Black farmers in their pursuit of success.
  • A candid conversation between Ron Busby, Sr., president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., (USBC) and P. J. Haynie, co-chair of the National Black Growers Council focused on exposing the challenges faced by Black farmers and highlighting the urgent need for change.

Today just 1.4% of farmers identify as Black or mixed race and Black Farmers represent less than 0.5% of total US farm sales according to McKinsey & Company. Even more alarming is the fact that over a century ago, Black farmers represented 14% of the population.

In conjunction with NMSDC’s recently renamed Acres program, This transformative event will ignite thought partnerships, inspire leadership, and foster collaborative discussions that strive for the sustainable and long-overdue change needed to reverse this disturbing trend.

For more information, contact NMSDC Program and Project Manager Brandi Wiggins at Brandi.Wiggins@nmsdc.org.