WASHINGTON—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Founded by John Boyd Jr., a fourth-generation Black farmer, businessman and farmers’ rights activist, the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is calling on the Biden administration to end its plan to ban menthol tobacco products. calling it a misguided federal policy that will devastate Black farmers and rural communities. The NBFA, which represents 130,000 members across 47 states, launched a national #SupportBlackFarmers campaign. Change.org petition to rally support from the public, farmers and those who care about America’s agricultural future.
“The White House is about to deliver another mandate that will put more black farmers out of business,” Boyd said. “The proposed federal ban targets adult use of menthol tobacco products – the type of tobacco products favored and grown by Black farmers. This will deprive small towns and businesses of essential revenue.
The process to finalize an FDA rule is expected within weeks, creating the largest ban on a legal adult product in modern history. If passed, the ban could lead to widespread unemployment, loss of income and assets, and even the potential extinction of generations of farming families. This is especially true for Black farmers who are already struggling due to misguided federal policies and lack of relief or alternatives.
Few workers have been hit harder in recent years than black farmers, whose numbers continue to decline. In 1910, about 14 percent of American farmers were black and owned more than 16 million acres. According to the latest information available Data from the Census of Agricultureonly one in 100 farmers is black and owns a total of less than 5 million acres.
The association previously represented a million black farmers across the country, a figure that now stands at more than 130,000 in 47 states.
“We know all too well how the federal government’s misguided policies have, time and time again, put another nail in the coffin of Black farmers and rural towns across America,” Boyd added. “My members are on the verge of disaster. We need to find a better solution that doesn’t further harm America’s declining rural towns and puts additional pressure on hardworking farmers. This NBFA petition allows us to speak out – we hope the White House will hear the concerns of generations of Black farmers.
Beyond the economic impact, opponents of banning menthol tobacco products note that the ban being considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would criminalize the sale, distribution and possession of menthol cigarettes under the federal, state and local laws. This criminalization could result in mandatory minimum sentences, parole revocation, fines, loss of voting rights, or even deportation, among other criminal legal consequences.
A study by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University reveals that 40 percent of adults who use cigarettes smoke menthol and more than 80 percent of black smokers use menthol. Banning menthol would further criminalize a population that has historically borne the brunt of the disproportionate consequences of the criminal justice system.
To see the#SupportBlackFarmers petition.
About the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA)
The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) is a nonprofit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the United States. As an association, it serves tens of thousands of members nationwide. The NBFA’s education and advocacy efforts focused on civil rights, land retention, access to public and private loans, agricultural education and training, and rural economic development for Black people and other small farmers.
For more information, visit www.blackfarmers.org.