Helping People Improve their Lives and Communites
Building Skills, Nurturing Leaders and Empowering Communities to Overcome Adversity
The Federation exists to counter a disturbing trend in the South: rural African-American farm families losing their land at a faster rate than that of white farm families. The group seeks to address this issue by nurturing and promoting the use of cooperatives and credit unions as a means for people to save, protect and expand the holdings of African-American landowners and farmers; by operating a facility where individuals can develop skills and build awareness in a cultural context; by developing safe, sanitary and affordable housing opportunities; and by advocating for public policies to benefit members and the rural communities where they live.
The Federation owns and operates a Rural Training and Research Center where members can acquire or enhance farming skills, learn about rural business development, grow as leaders, and explore ways to work together in cooperatives and credit unions. Recently, the Center has become the site of a Federal-state forestry initiative and demonstration for African-American family farmers with woodlots and timber resources.
Over the course of its history, the Federation has provided its members with tangible benefits, such as more than $100M in retained land. In addition, it has championed producer, marketing, consumer and credit cooperatives that have saved family estates, reduced costs, increased revenues and enhanced stability for members. There are also intangible benefits of the Federation’s work, including helping individuals understand how to make collective decisions that uplift their communities, developing new community leaders, encouraging behavioral changes that make collective decision-making more effective and increasing the appreciation of cooperative values to improve communities.