In the past 50 years, farm consolidation has led to a rapidly decreasing number of family farms in Kentucky. This is in large part due to government incentives that have benefited large corporate farms, and put small and mid sized family farms at a severe competitive disadvantage. Corporate consolidation at this scale often leads to decreased innovation and threatens the security of our food systems nation-wide.
The reduction in small farms in Kentucky has also been a result of years of discrimination at the USDA, which has led to a severe decline in the number of Black-owned farms in Kentucky, and across the South. As Senator, Charles will pass the Justice for Black Farmers Act to provide relief and prevent discrimination.
In order to help small and mid-sized family farms across the Commonwealth survive, we need leaders that will actually fight for them by advocating for fair trade agreements, incentivizing local processing, aggregation, and distribution, and providing targeted incentives and programs to support them. We also need to help small farmers compete by strengthening organic standards, and expanding their industry by legalizing cannabis once and for all.
When Charles talks to farmers in western Kentucky, the other clear issue that they are facing are the effects of climate chaos that are already affecting their crop yields. As a U.S. Senator, he will fight to make sure that any climate legislation includes support for farmers that are being ravaged by irregular weather patterns, severe drought, and rising costs.