The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit in April on behalf of 12 farmers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon and Kentucky. They argue that recent aid from a federal relief package granting aid to farmers of color discriminates against white farmers, CBS reports.
Last Thursday, a judge granted them a temporary injunction halting the aid.
To note, nearly all of the $9.2 billion bailout provided to farmers last year by the Trump administration went to white farmers, CBS reports, citing research from the Environmental Working Group. They also received $6.7 billion in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments, while Black farmers received $15 million and Latino farmers $100 million, according to calculations by the EWG.
The federal government’s aid comes after Black farmers filed lawsuits and faced discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades. While there were Black farmers who were granted restitution from a 2010 settlement, many still had not received the settlement money.
Last week, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the the Farm Subsidy Transparency Act to require the USDA to track and make public information on the race and gender of all recipients of the agency’s farm assistance. It would also require disclosure of farm subsidies, farm loans, crop insurance, disaster assistance and funding through the Coronavirus Food Assistance program, as well as assistance provided through conservation and forestry programs, CBS reports.