Judge Suspends Colored Farmer Loan Forgiveness Program

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The program pays out up to 120% of direct or guaranteed agricultural loan balances to black, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American, or Pacific Islander farmers. President Joe Biden’s administration created a loan forgiveness program as part of its COVID-19 pandemic relief plan.

Emily Newton, a leading attorney representing the USDA in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to an email Friday asking for comment on the restraining order.

Minority farmers have argued for decades that they have been unfairly denied agricultural loans and other government assistance. Federal agricultural officials in 1999 and 2010 settled claims from black farmers, accusing the agency of discriminating against them.

The conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit in April alleging that white farmers are not eligible for the program, a violation of their constitutional rights. The firm has sued on behalf of 12 farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon and Kentucky.

(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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