John Wesley Boyd, Jr.


John Wesley Boyd, Jr. (born September 4, 1965) resides in Baskerville, Virginia with his wife Kara Brewer Boyd. He is a fourth-generation farmer, civil rights activist and the founder of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA). He owns/operates a 300-acre farming operation growing soybean, corn, wheat and produce in addition to raising beef cattle, American Guinea Hogs, Nigerian Goats & Chickens. For 14 years Boyd was a chicken farmer in a Perdue Farms breeder program. He was also a tobacco farmer for many years. 

He formed the NBFA, a Virginia-based non-profit organization, in the early 1990’s. In his role with the NBFA, Boyd has worked closely with national leaders in government, agriculture organizations and rural groups nationwide as well as internationally. Boyd was appointed by then-Virginia Governor-elect Tim Kaine to serve as co-chair of his Policy Committee on Agriculture and Forestry during the transition period. In 2000, Boyd was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on his administration’s tobacco commission. Prior to that, he was appointed by then-Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore to serve on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. In 2000, Boyd was the Democratic nominee for election to Virginia’s 5th congressional district.

He was an early supporter of Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and played an important role organizing African American voters in the critical South Carolina primary. During the primaries Boyd also organized supporters and spoke at events in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Texas and Mississippi.

On July 7, 2008, Roll Call newspaper reported that Boyd was instrumental in “securing the biggest Congressional victory in history for black farmers, a $100 million line item in this year’s farm bill that effectively reopened the government’s discrimination settlement with black farmers.” After leading public rallies and an intensive NBFA member lobbying effort, Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed into law in December 2010 legislation that set aside $1.15 billion to resolve the outstanding Black farmers cases. Boyd attended the bill signing ceremony at the White House. Boyd told “This is about justice.”

Boyd was quoted in the national press numerous times on the Cobell Native American trust fund case. His work on that case, which was resolved when it was grouped with the Black farmers legislation, helped lead to a $3.4 billion legal settlement. He told National Public Radio in November 2010 that “This has been just a long struggle for the black farmers and for the Cobell case as well.” 

Boyd was named ABC World News Tonight’s Person of the Week on Friday, November 21, 2003. The next year he was featured in the CBS Evening News Eye on America report. And he has appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Nightline, CNN and other television networks. He has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Black Americans and Organization Leaders” by Ebony magazine several times. He has been featured in Jet magazine numerous times.

Boyd was vetted to be a contender to serve in President Obama’s Cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture. The Congressional Quarterly (CQ) reported some members of the Congressional Black Caucus supported Boyd. However, the position ultimately went to Tom Vilsack of Iowa. 

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