Tag: African-American farmers

Former Star Center Jason Brown Trades NFL Career for Tractor to Help Feed Needy

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Former NFL Player Jason Brown tends to his fields in Louisburg, N.C. (CBS NEWS)

LOUISBURG, N.C. – At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL. At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.  And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

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Jason Brown gets ready for a play against the New England Patriots in 2010. (ELSA, GETTY IMAGES)You wouldn’t believe. 

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch YouTube videos.”

He learned how to farm from YouTube.  Thanks to YouTube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time. “Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.  “It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.  “Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

To see video of this story, click here.

article by Steve Hartman via cbsnews.com

Black farmers to Receive Payouts in $1.2 Billion From Federal Lawsuit Settlement

After years of protests and lawsuits, black farmers in the south will begin receiving payments this week as a result of a $1.2 billion settlement in their discrimination case against federal agriculture officials. About 18,000 farmers in total are expected to receive checks over the next few days.black farmers

This is the second round of funding for black farmers. Thousands received payments in 1999 as part of a settlement in a class-action suit over allegations of widespread discrimination by federal officials who denied loans and other assistance to black farmers because of their race.

“After all these years and all the fighting, this is what it’s all about,” says John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which pushed Congress for the settlement. “It doesn’t take away what the government has done to us, but for those who receive the payments it will make a difference in their lives.”

About 40,000 black farmers filed claims in the $1.2 billion settlement, which ended a discrimination case against the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2010, President Obama signed the bill authorizing compensation for discrimination in farm lending by federal officials.  Black farmers will receive settlement payments of $62,500, including $50,000 for the claim and $12,500 for taxes. Of the $1.2 billion, about $91 million was approved for attorney fees.

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