“There’s very few active African-American homesteads in the state you could go to and see,” said Terrance Boyd who is the proprietor and manager of Wild Boyd Farm.
In the latest Census of Agriculture report, the total number of farmers within the United States increased by 7 percent between 2012 and The increase for Black producers over the same time period was 5 percent. However, despite the growth, Black producers made up just 1.4 percent of the country’s 3.4 million producers in the year 2017 and the majority of them were located in the mid-Atlantic and the southeastern states.
Thus, the possibility of finding a farm owned by a black family in the eastern part of Colorado isn’t a common occurrence however that’s something Boyd hopes to change.
In Matheson which is an unincorporated town with just 300 residents located in Elbert County, Boyd has developed his desire to provide food to his family on an operating farm in just few years.
Originating from Denver and without any experience in agriculture, Boyd felt strongly about creating a home as a way to be sure he understood where the food he ate.
“That’s the reason why … the small-scale farms want to achieve, which is to fill the void,” explained Boyd. “So you don’t need to use mass-produced food as your sole sources of protein.”
With the help of several friends, Boyd established Wild Boyd Farm as an “regenerative farming operation,” meaning that he, along with his family place a lot of emphasis on the soil’s ability to regenerate itself. One type of method Boyd employs is called “chicken tractor,” an unfinished chicken coop which can move around the soil between different areas. The chickens can scratch at the soil and eat the dirt to grow plants.
Boyd’s farm provides grass-fed cattle and pasture-raised pigs and chicken. He believes can improve the lives of people.
For instance the time a customer from Strasburg approached Boyd to buy eggs, she explained the family’s “serious allergic reaction” to eggs purchased from stores. Searching for alternatives, Boyd said the customer tried eggs from Wild Boyd Farm and her family didn’t experience any adverse reaction.
“We’ve been selling dozen eggs to her every from then,” said Boyd. “To be able to assist somebody to start … the family, it was pretty significant.”
Boyd is also hoping that sharing his story and ability to establish the farm, it will encourage others who are young, Black people to consider farming as a viable option to live a long-term sustainable life.
The time the president Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862, in an attempt to settle the West Citizens were given the possibility of 160 acres land that was public in exchange for their right to live there and improve it, as well as pay a modest registration fee. Since the law was passed prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868, which expanded the rights and liberties accorded under the Bill of Rights to formerly slaves Many Black Americans were denied the same rights as white people. After the 14th Amendment was became law, it allowed certain Black Americans the chance to make their homes a home, pool their gains and create communities.
The most famous instance of this of this in Colorado is Dearfield founded around 1910, in 1910 by Oliver Toussaint Jackson who was inspired by the white settlement in Greeley. The success and community they established did not last through the severe dryness during the Dust Bowl and many homesteaders were forced to find jobs in cities.
There are still barriers that stop the number of farms owned by Blacks from expanding. Many of the obstacles stem from the inability to generate generations of wealth because due to the lack of legal protections for transfer property , such as wills and the discriminatory practices of lending. A report published from the firm of management consultants McKinsey and Company details the issues faced by future Black farmers and the ways to tackle them, including the social-cultural, educational, as well as institutional strategies.
Boyd declared he was pleased to be part of the tradition of black-owned Colorado farms.