TRINITY, N.C. (WGHP) — Farming is a tough business. For Black farmers, it can be tougher.
Those challenges range from being unable to afford farming tools, land and trouble affording loans.
“It’s been a very difficult task to be a farmer. Every day is a new … obstacle that many don’t have,” said Courtney Alston Wilson, with the Glow House Agriculture Century Farm.
Wilson uses her land to farm and make a living, but that hasn’t come easy.
“I would take my four-wheeler and some buckets of water and drive to the field to water the crops. OK. We don’t have a tractor,” Wilson said.
At times, Wilson asks her neighbor to help her plow crops but at a cost. She doesn’t have a shed to protect her decades-old farming tools or even the funding to expand her farm.
Wilson said it’s nearly impossible to get any help from the government.
“We’ve been excluded from those resources through discrimination, racism … therefore, it’s been harder for us to grow,” Wilson said.
Her family deed shows her family owned more than 100 acres of land.
But through the years, Wilson says her family lost land. Now, they are down to 12 acres.
“To come here and work hard for this land that I’m on right now … someone to take it back I think is horrible … It’s very emotional, and I’m a sixth generation that feels that way,” Wilson said.
N.C. Agriculture and Technical State University agricultural business farmers said in North Carolina there are 46,000 farmers. Black farmers make up 3 percent of that number.
Based on the AgCensus of 2017, there are 206 black farmers in the Triad.
- Alamance County — 67
- Davidson County — 6
- Davie County — 49
- Forsyth County — 10
- Guilford County — 30
- Randolph County — 13
- Rockingham County — 11
- Stokes County — 4
- Surry County — 12
- Yadkin County — 4
“You look at the amount of money that our small farmers are having to pay when it comes to the purchase or leasing of land,” Regional Extension Director, Urban and Non-Traditional/Underrepresented Audiences for NC A&T University Dr. Shannon R. Wiley said. “We’re already in a smaller market because we are competing against big farm agriculture.”
NCA&T experts say there are new resources and legislation to help farmers but that process has been slow.
“I want to see it to be 50/50,” Wilson said.
NC A&T officials do see positive progress being made for this generation’s farmers.
More than 1,000 students graduated from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and more resources are showing up to help more Black farmers.
New resources are also coming to the Triad to help these farmers. For the first time, the Hayes Taylor YMCA in Greensboro will host the first Triad Black Farmer’s Market.
The event is on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.