The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) recently announced that it is expanding a program focused on increasing economic opportunity for Black farmers and ranchers. 

The initiative, called “Acres: Cultivating Equity in Black Agriculture,” trains and certifies Black farmers and ranchers as diverse providers, allowing them to increase income as growers access new markets, including grocery stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets. 


Seeking to triple the number of ranchers and farmers trained to help build greater equity in America’s food system, founding partner Cargill and UNFI have contributed more than $500,000. 

“We are incredibly excited for the continued interest in NMSDC Acres. Cargill and UNFI’s leadership in supporting this effort to create greater equity for the Black community will help us to grow the program and make meaningful progress towards a more inclusive agricultural system,” said in a news release Lisa Morris, NMSDC vice president of strategic alliances, programs and events. 


According to McKinsey & Company data shared by NMSDC, just 1.4% of farmers identify as Black or mixed race compared to 14% a century ago. 

Additionally, while accounting for less than 0.5% of total U.S. farm sales, Black farm practitioners operate 70% of farm income at the peer level. 

It was precisely to address this issue and promote access to the agricultural supply chain for Black people that Cargill and NMSDC designed the Acres program. 

Natalie McGrady, Cargill’s Supplier Diversity lead, pointed out: 

“We are working with farmers, customers, and organizations like NMSDC to close equity gaps that have existed for too long in the fabric of our food system”. 

Benefits to its participants include strategic business support and skills development, including assistance with NMSDC certification and access to funding opportunities. 

“UNFI is proud to support NMSDC Acres as a founding circle member in the effort to create a more inclusive agricultural system in the United States,” said Guillaume Bagal, VP Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Wellbeing at UNFI. 


Founded in 1972, NMSDC is the longest-running engine of business growth for the broadest group of systematically excluded communities of color (Asian Indian, Asian Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American). 


Cargill connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and families with everyday essentials, from the food they eat to the floors they walk on. 


It is the leading grocery wholesaler in North America, offering the widest variety of fresh, brand-name and own-label produce to more than 30,000 locations across North America, including large natural food stores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *