For Nathan Bradford Jr., work doesn’t end after his full-time job. When he’s not working at a natural gas processing plant, he’s ranching in Bristow, Oklahoma.

There’s a lot of work to do on the land because of years of soil degradation from decades of farming. Bradford has been playing a game of catch-up. Bradford says he would need approximately $1.2 million to get the equipment needed to do all the work on the land.

“I can’t give up. I have to make this place better than when I found it,” Bradford says. “They had what they had. They had the resources. I have the opportunity to make it better, and that’s what my goals are and that’s what I’m going to do, it’s just going to take some time.”

The number of Black farms across the country has decreased over the past century. Much of that is a result of discrimination.

Bradford’s father, also named Nathan, received $50,000 as part of the settlement. But he says he would’ve been better off if he’d gotten loans when he was trying to farm. He says he would've been able to buy hundreds of acres of land for cheap.

Things have changed. Nathan Bradford Jr. says he’s been able to get loans, even though he’s had his fair share of challenges with the Farm Service Agency, which administers loan programs for the USDA.

Bradford Jr. wants to be a full-time rancher by the time he turns 50, nine years from now. The first step is expanding his business, by opening a place to process meat like deer.

“Our heart is in it,” Bradford says. ”When your heart is in it, and you focus that and you want to make it happen. These guys, we can make it happen.”

Read the full article about how Black farmers are still ranching by Seth Bodine at Harvest Public Media.