John Deere is doubling down on its commitment to uplifting Black farmers.

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the murder of George Floyd last summer, the leading tractor equipment company created a coalition on a mission to improve the livelihood of Black farmers.

Legislations, Education, Advocacy, and Production (LEAP) was created to put action behind the company’s commitment to supporting Black farmers and now it’s advancing its mission in a partnership with the National Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

Together, they will partner with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund to help eliminated barriers created by Heirs Property.

“I am extremely excited about John Deere’s history and ongoing support of the Federation’s work in this regard,” shared Dania Davy, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “For over 50 years, the Federation has worked to support Black Farmers cooperatives and landowners and they do that through a variety of ways including developing cooperatives, credit unions, etc.”

John Deere will also fund three legal interns from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to work with families this summer on their Heirs’ Property issues and providing resources to continue to advance the lives and livelihoods of Black farmers.

“Black landownership is important because in the United States land simply put is power and wealth,” shared intern Toria Rotibi. ” While most of the Black land loss on its face has been “legal”, this method of acquiring the property – through tax liens and partition sales – stems from a long history of discrimination and systematic racism.

For John Deere, this partnership is one of many steps toward a better future for Black farmers.

“We have a long way to go and we are by no means perfect in this journey,” said Andrez Carberry, Global of Talent Supply & Diversity & Inclusion Head at John Deere. “We have the benefit of great partners like the Grower’s Council, National Black Growers Council, like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and now the goal of the LEAP coalition in partnership with the Federation is really to eliminate these barriers that are created by the heirs property and so our goal is to develop an ecosystem that really is intended to eradicate this issue, It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be a short journey, but it’s worth it.”

For more on John Deere and The LEAP Coalition click here.