Having grown up on a tobacco farm and worked at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, I can tell you that the concerns that keep black farmers up
at night are not unique and are mostly shared by farmers of all
stripes. Aside from some specific issues of discrimination, black
farmers worry about access to capital, pray for a little luck with the
weather and wish for a more predictable regulatory environment.
High levels of uncertainty translate into a lack of investments and lack of jobs on the farm, just as on Wall Street. Farmers are practical people. They understand that uncertainty in the capital markets is tied to the economy as a whole. Their concerns about the weather are typically conveyed to a higher power, not Washington bureaucrats.
But when a seemingly endless stream of burdensome, costly and scientifically unfounded regulations threatens their livelihood, they expect the government to stop and consider their plight. And when the president visits rural America, as he did this month, and dismisses these concerns out of hand, it sends a clear message to them that now is not the time for new investments in the American farm.