Mississippi farmers rally for support from Congress - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi farmers rally for support from Congress

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A cold morning in Jackson didn't stop hundreds of farmers from around the state to rally for support from Congress.

It's part of an eight city tour, lead by the Founder of the National Black Farmer's Association, Dr. John Boyd.

Boyd's goal is to get Congress to allocate $1.15 billion in federal stimulus funds to back pay for years of discrimination against farmers in the south from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"They're losing land. and you know when you lose your farm you just don't lose your home you lose your way of life your heritage," Dr. Boyd said.

Farmers held up signs that read "years of empty promises." Many black farmers in the 1970s, tried to get loans or other help for agricultural services from the USDA, and they were denied. They say they've more than earned the federal stimulus money they're asking.

"We are not asking more of anything, we have earned this," said long time organic farmer, Carroll Otis from Jefferson Davis, MS.

"I feel like we deserve to get some of the things we need," said Lilly Bonnet, who comes a long history of farmers in Mississippi.

Since the economic downtown, some of these farmers say getting a loan to keep their farms alive has been a difficult task.

"Because sometimes they don't have the money to pay taxes, they sometimes lose that land, and so they're not able to farm anymore," said Terrion Shamburger whose grandparents own and operate a farm in Mississippi.

"Congress should go ahead and appropriate the money like President Obama asked them to do," said another farmer, Albert Thomas from Fayette, MS.

Meanwhile, Otis says he hopes farmers in Mississippi and the rest of the south will receive the help they need, so they can share their crops with others.

" And that's what I hope and pray I ought to be able to work in America and use American products to feed our people."

 On Wednesday, Dr. Boyd and his tour is stopping in Montgomery, AL. They're ending the tour Monday, February 15th in Washington D.C.

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