JahAsia Faith Jacobs

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Princeton U.

Grant number

Gr. 10689

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Jacobs, JahAsia (Princeton U.) "Borrowing from“The Last Plantation”: Heirs’ Property, and USDA Loan Eligibility among Black Farmers in Georgia"

My research lies at the nexus of plantation worlds and peasant studies in anthropology, exploring the property and labor relations of Black farmers working on family land (heirs’ property) and seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture farm loans to develop their operations in Georgia. As a precondition of USDA loan eligibility, farmers must consolidate family land into individual property. The dissertation follows these semi-landed farmers as they pursue USDA lending assistance, first identifying and contacting all heirs to the land, then negotiating for sole proprietorship with kin and warding off third-party land developers, and finally, making a case for their financial and agricultural expertise at Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. Joining the growing queries about plantation “worlds” (Moore and Arosoaie 2022) with classical investigations about the indeterminacy of agricultural work and property arrangements from peasant studies, I ask: How do Black farmers’ everyday, embodied negotiations of inheritance, kinship, and (moral and financial) obligations encounter institutional narratives of private property and creditworthiness from the USDA and related organizations? In what ways do racialized agricultural histories of enslavement and sharecropping in the United States shape contemporary possibilities for Black farmers as they pursue sole proprietorship and USDA farm loans?