After spending months campaigning for Barack Obama across the South, John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, is now seeking to have a larger voice in U.S. agricultural policy, hopefully as secretary of agriculture.
“I’ve had some conversations with the campaign. I thought they were positive,” said Boyd, of Baskerville, Va., who does not have any formal role in the Obama transition team. Several more experienced politicians have been mentioned for the government’s top ag job.
Boyd has been a leading voice in a multi-million dollar class action suit against the U.S. government for discriminating against black farmers
“Farmers around the country want to see some change at the Department of Agriculture,” Boyd said, adding he would focus on farm lending and program delivery if given the chance to serve in the administration.
This year’s farm bill lifted the statute of limitations on the black farmers suit, allowing the group to add more plaintiffs to the case, which Boyd said could include claims from 40,000 farmers.
“It’s going to take an administration and an Agriculture Secretary and an Attorney General who can sit down and bring resolution to the farmers,” Boyd said.
--Neil H. Simon