Talking farming with Minnesota farmers of color

headshot of Naima Dhore outside
Naima Dhore is the owner of Naima’s Farm. She started the Somali American Farmers Association in 2020.
Courtesy of Naima Dhore

Roughly 99 percent of farmers in Minnesota are white, and there are only 39 Black farmers in the entire state, according to the most recent state farm census. That homogeneity doesn’t represent the diversity of Minnesota’s population, which is about 79 percent white. 

A history of discriminatory practices and persistent barriers — including a lack of access to land, credit and training opportunities — have contributed to fewer farmers of color pursuing the occupation. 

This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will start offering debt relief to Black, American Indian, Hispanic and Asian American farmers as part of the American Rescue Plan. 

Host Angela Davis spoke with a Somali American farmer, a Hmong farmer and one of the state's assistant agriculture commissioners about the experiences of farmers of color and the barriers they face.

Guests:

  • Patrice Bailey is an assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. He oversees outreach, as well as agricultural marketing and development, dairy and meat inspection and food and feed safety.

  • Janssen Hang is the executive director and co-founder of the Hmong American Farmers Association. 

  • Naima Dhore is the executive director of the Somali American Farmers Association and owner of Naima’s Farm. 

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.