Supporting Underserved Landowners in the Southeast with Conservation and Economic Goals

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2022-12-16

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Abstract

African American and other “historically underserved” landowners, as defined in the 2008 Farm Bill, have experienced unprecedented rates of agricultural and forest land loss due in large part to discrimination by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). ​​In recent years, the USDA has increased its effort to expand support for historically underserved producers in order to confront and counter this history of discrimination and unequal access to their funding programs. In 2020, the Resourceful Communities program of The Conservation Fund, along with partner organizations in South Carolina and Georgia, received a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant from the USDA to support historically underserved landowners in accessing program funds. This participatory evaluation serves to inform and support that project. Based on online survey data and phone interviews with landowners in the organizations’ three-state network, this report sheds light on barriers landowners face to accessing NRCS conservation program funds; the types of support provided by the organizations that have been most effective in helping landowners to overcome these barriers; and where lie the limits to this type of support, suggesting the need for changes within the NRCS program itself. The study concludes with a formal set of recommendations for the organizations and the NRCS to improve support for historically underserved landowners in the three-state network.

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Citation

Mindlin, Laura (2022). Supporting Underserved Landowners in the Southeast with Conservation and Economic Goals. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26372.


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