Emergency relief was on its way for black farmers. Then prosecutions and accusations of “backwards racism” came along.
Federal judges in several states have stopped distributing $ 4 billion to underprivileged farmers (including black farmers) saying it discriminates against white farmers. The latest judgment came courtesy of U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard who issued a preliminary injunction two weeks ago on behalf of Scott Wynn, a white farmer from Jennings, Fla., Stating he had encountered similar economic problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s not fair that he was excluded from emergency aid.
The money under discussion was part of President Joe Biden’s farm loan forgiveness program of the American Rescue Plan Act, which sought to cancel the debts of farmers of color who have historically been discriminated against by entities like the United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA) and were denied access to loans and benefits, creating an uneven playing field.
The deadline for Biden’s Justice Department to appeal one of the three preliminary injunctions issued against the bill was Monday. They let the 60-day appeal deadline expire and did not challenge the injunction in court at all.
There are 3.4 million farmers in the United States. Less than 50,000 of them (1.4%) are black. Wynn focused on the past year and more for his reasoning behind the lawsuit (according to The Hill, Wynn has a federal loan debt of $ 300,000). Black farmers focus on the last decades.
There were nearly a million black farmers in America at the turn of the 20th century. But black farmers generally lost land due to the inability to obtain a USDA farm serial number in order to apply for federal loans. As the earth was passed down from generation to generation. This land was lost when most white farmers got the serial numbers required to apply for loans. The Census Bureau states that 80% of all land lost to blacks is the result of this problem.
This is something that the president of the National Black Farmers Association, John Boyd, Jr., who founded the group in 1995, wanted to keep in mind.
“It’s a bad situation,” Boyd, whose grandfather was the son of a slave, told AmNews. “We get a loan acceleration where we have to pay the full amount within 30 days. And the white farmers were getting realizations of loans and forgiveness of debts, so they were the ones who got relief all the time. So now I read all these articles saying that a new loan program discriminates against white people and that is not the truth here.
Part of the aid also includes an additional $ 1 billion for technical assistance and the establishment of an equity commission for farmers who have been discriminated against. But it is not held up in court.
And yet the farmers did not receive that money either.
“So there’s a billion dollars that isn’t tied up in any court or has no legal ramifications where (US Secretary of Agriculture) Tom Vilsack could unlock the money but he didn’t. done, ”Boyd said. “I also think he was too slow when he got debt relief for Farmers of Colors in the first place. He had plenty of time to do it and pull the trigger here, and then the white farmers started suing us in Texas and other federal courts across the country.
“So I think the secretary has some responsibility here.”
AmNews contacted spokespersons for the Biden administration, but they declined to comment on the matter.
“A lot of farmers don’t qualify for FSA,” said Michael Carter, Jr. of Virginia-based Carter Farms. “There are more Hispanic and indigenous farmers receiving aid than black farmers.
Carter had a message for black farmers, however.
“Keep doing what you’ve been doing,” Carter said. “Make sure you pay your bills, be patient and eventually… maybe… it will come.” But many of us don’t have faith. The reality for black farmers is that we never benefit from laws that were passed on behalf of black farmers. “