ICYMI: Spanberger Joins Roundtable with Black Farmers in Orange County, Focuses on Disparities in Farm Bill

**CLICK HERE for Photos of Spanberger and Black Crop & Livestock Producers from Across the Piedmont at Roundtable Discussion**

ORANGE COUNTY, Va. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee — yesterday joined a roundtable discussion in Orange County to hear directly from Black farmers as Farm Bill negotiations are ongoing.

Spanberger has long heard from Black and socially disadvantaged farmers who face challenges raising capital, expanding operations, and accessing federal support networks — and often face discrimination from the federal government leading to loan denials, unfair terms, and delayed processing of applications. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that only 36 percent of loan applications from Black farmers were approved in 2022 — compared to 72 percent for white farmers.

During the event, Spanberger and attendees discussed the range of challenges facing the Piedmont’s farmers and ranchers, particularly small, Black-owned operations. Additionally, attendees shared testimonials about their experiences as owners and operators, discussed their concerns, and talked through their key priorities for the Farm Bill. Spanberger also provided an update on her work in Congress to support Virginia’s producers and the current status of Farm Bill negotiations.

“As the only Virginian on the Agriculture Committee in both the House and the Senate, I know that getting the Farm Bill done is a top priority — for our farmers, producers, families, agribusinesses, and entire rural economy. We need to get it done,” said Spanberger during the event. “Overall, the status quo falls short of addressing the full scope of challenges that Black farmers face across our Commonwealth. As we work to get the Farm Bill across the finish line, I will be doing everything I can to advocate for provisions that will support Virginia agriculture and Black farmers across the Commonwealth.”

BACKGROUND

Throughout Farm Bill negotiations, Spanberger has focused on listening to the priorities of Virginia’s farmers and producers. In April 2023, Spanberger hosted her Farm Bill Summit in Caroline County to hear directly from crop and livestock producers, farm groups, conservation organizations, and rural advocates.

In November of last year, Congress extended the current Farm Bill through September 30, 2024. The Farm Bill is a legislative package passed approximately every five years that directly impacts Virginia’s rural communities, food security, farm programs, crop insurance, and sustainable farming practices. The legislation has 12 separate sections — or “titles” — governing a wide swath of policy areas ranging from broadband internet access to nutrition programs to farm financing.

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