MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Upper Midwest Law Center has filed a lawsuit against the USDA loan forgiveness program claiming it openly discriminates against white farmers.
The UMLC filed the lawsuit on behalf of farmers Steve Nuest, Kaylyn Dalsted, Chad Walter, Kevin Vetsch, Lynelle Vetsch, Johnathan Quamme, Samantha Quamme, Nuest Partnership, and Walter Brothers Family Farms LLC.
The USDA created the new race-based loan-forgiveness program under the Biden Administration which was included in the American Rescue Plan Act. The program was aimed at providing debt relief to farmers of color who faced years of economic discrimination. The federal government will assist farmers in paying up to 120% on debt from Farm Service Agency Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans.
The new debt relief program is available for farmers who are Black, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native American, Native Alaskan or Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. It does not include white farmers searching for debt relief.
At least two federal courts have already agreed that the program is unconstitutional and have issued injunctions against it including Wisconsin and South Dakota. This UMLC lawsuit also seeks an injunction to stop the program.
One of the farmers involved with the lawsuit, Steve Nuest, says he wants to be treated fairly.
“Our demand is simple: don’t discriminate against farmers because of their race. We simply want equal treatment under the law,” said Nuest.