Lawyers try to stop USDA’s rapid targeted payments to farmers of color

An attorney representing a group of farmers opposed to the Biden administration’s targeted aid for Black farmers and farmers of color plans to ask the court to block USDA from rushing the payments.

Dan Lennington with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty says, “We’re planning on filing something soon.”

Lennington tells Brownfield the paperwork is being drafted to ask a federal judge in Green Bay not to let USDA forgive FSA direct, operating, storage, and other loans or directly pay farmers of color 20% of their loan values back until the court decides the case. 

The Wisconsin case is one of two court cases attempting to block the Biden administration from giving preferential treatment to farmers who are not white.  Lennington tells Brownfield he’s not alone in trying to stop the quick payments. “I’ve also talked with the farmers in the Texas case, and they have also represented to me that they are filing something very soon, too, so whether it’s before June 1st or after June 1st, I can’t tell you that, but something by June will be filed.”

Lennington says his team is working hard on two separate battles against the federal government, as they build their cases against what he calls USDA’s discriminatory aid and another case against the Small Business Administration’s 28.6-billion-dollar Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which reportedly only processed applications from women, veterans, and minorities from May 3rd until May 24th.

The USDA issued a statement May 21st saying loan payments for eligible borrowers with qualifying direct FSA farm loans under the American Rescue Plan Act Section 1005 should expect the first payments in early June and continue on a rolling basis.

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