Professor Robert Watson, Hampton University African American History Professor
>Black farmers make up 1.3% of farmers in America's Agricultural community and are spread throughout the United States.
>However, in Surry County, several black families made a living farming on land passed down through their families.
>This project focused on two Black farming families, the Slade family, and the Peirce family, who have been farming in Surry County for decades.
>Slade family owns 500 acres of land, run by Clifton Slade, with the assistance of his family and workers. He mainly farms elephant garlic, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and hemp. They currently farm organic, believing it is more profit
>Mr. Slade is a graduate of Virginia State University and studied Agriculture Education. He's been running the farm since his father passed, and he's been managing the farm, creating different sources of income aside from farming
> He opened Slade Park, which provided dirt roads for ATV, BMX, or dirt bike riders. However, due to the mistreatment visitors had on the property, he had to close it because it became too much of an issue.
>He now opened an RV campsite for those wishing to stay on the property. He has already opened eight on the farm and already has two residents. Tyler, a man currently living there while working at Surry County's Power station, and Robert Altman, an intern at the farm, learning so he can run his farm in the future.
>He's been a guest speaker at numerous colleges and universities about his family's story and insight into farming.
>The Pierce family has been working on their farm for generations growing soybeans, peanuts, and corn. Breyon Pierce, a 6th generation farmer in the family, is a graduate of Agricultural business at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. and studied Agriculture. He and his family use newer farming tractors, all issued by Ford company, and hoping to become a sponsor.
> His family first started after his great great great grandfather, Alexander Gilchrist purchased the plot of land after slavery. He had nine children, seven boys, and two girls.
>Breyon teaches at his old Highschool in Surry about the importance of farming while still attending to his duties on the farm.
Why there are so few left
>One of the main reasons there are very few black farmers is because access to land is very hard to come by. Many companies and corporations try to buy up land warehouses in factories for business.
>Some farmers that do own land would end up selling the property for more money.
>Another factor that was discussed by Mr. Slade and Mr. Pierce was the fact that not many African-Americans want to be farmers in the present day.
>Many farmers are born into the business, so it is difficult for people to begin farming without any land or knowledge of how to.
>Others who were born into farm families don’t wish to be farmers like their elders and would leave the farm to seek another career path.
> They believe the best way to grow is for black communities to buy from each other and educate the youth on the history of farmers and how the next generation can become one.