The Minton Family’s 40-Year Journey to Owning a Black-Run Farm in New York

James Minton and his family own one of New York’s few black-led farms. Triple J Farm in Windsor, New York, features cows, chickens, bees, goats, and other animals.

Land ownership is a major issue for many black families, and being one of the few blacks in the state who own farm properties is significant. Around the turn of the century, one out of every seven farmers in the United States was Black.

Decades later, an estimated 13 million acres of land have been lost in the United States, forcing many descendants of Black farmers to relocate north to seek work in other industries. According to US Department of Agriculture data, less than 2% of the country’s farmers are currently Black.

Minton grew up in New York’s projects but has always had a penchant for farming. When he retired from his job and wanted a place of his own, he purchased the land for his farming endeavor a decade ago. He purchased the farm with stock and 401K funds, he said NPR.

According to NPR, Minton, who is now in his late 80s, is expanding his agricultural company with the help of several of his grandchildren and other family members. He is the father of seven children, the grandfather of 28, the great-grandfather of 40, and the great-great-grandfather of one. And he purchased the land for all of them, according to the 2020 platform.

“It’ll be someplace for them to come at any time,” Minton said. “Something bad happens to them in the city and they need someplace to stay? Whether I’m alive or dead, this place will still be here. That’s what I wanted.”

According to NPR, Triple J Farm went from selling 30 dozen eggs every few months to selling nearly 200 dozen per week. Daryl, one of Minton’s grandchildren, joined him on the ranch to assist operate the farm. His top aim, he says, is to create generational wealth. Daryl formerly worked for a large grocery chain in New York City before joining Triple J Farm.

“At the end of the day, that didn’t make any sense,” Daryl told NPR. “Why couldn’t me and my family use the things that we know and try to build our own wealth, or build the wealth to help my grandfather out?

However, due to farming costs, the Minton family has found it difficult to be Black farmers. Despite this, the farm thrives, and throughout the pandemic, the family sold 1,000 to 1,200 dozen eggs per month. The Black Lives Matter rallies following the death of George Floyd raised exposure of their company.

Minton is overjoyed that his ambitions have come true after more than 40 years.

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