More farmers suing USDA alleging discrimination

More farmers suing USDA alleging discrimination
Image: Andrey Popov/iStock/Thinkstock
May 4th, 2021 | NAFB News Service

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty last week filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the alleged race discrimination in the American Rescue Plan.

Specifically, the organization targets a provision to offer loan forgiveness based on racial categories. The organization filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of five plaintiffs from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Ohio.  The American Rescue Plan Act provides billions of dollars of debt relief to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

But the law’s definition of socially disadvantaged includes explicit racial classifications: farmers and ranchers must be Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Hispanic or Latino, or Asian American or Pacific Islander. Other farmers are ineligible for the program, according to the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges discrimination, calling the program “illegal and unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction and a declaratory judgment that the racial classifications in the farmer loan forgiveness program are unconstitutional.


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