Black farmers fear foreclosure as debt relief remains frozen

The legal limbo created new and unexpected financial strains for Black farmers, many of whom were unable to invest in their businesses due to uncertainty about their debt. surname. It also poses a political problem for Mr. Biden, who, backed by black voters, came to power and must now make good on promises to improve his fortunes.

This law is intended to help remedy years of discrimination that non-white farmers have endured, including the theft of land and the refusal of loan applications by banks and the federal government. capital. The program assigns aid to approximately 15,000 borrowers who receive loans directly from the federal government or are USDA-guaranteed for bank loans. Alaskan Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic.

After the initiative was launched last year, it was met with rapid opposition.

Banks are not satisfied that the loans will be repaid soon, leaving them with no interest. White farmer groups in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Oregon and Illinois have sued the Department of Agriculture, arguing that debt relief based on color is discriminatory, suggesting that a successful black farmer can write off debt. while a struggling white ranch can go. out of business. America First Legal, a group led by former Trump administration official Stephen Miller, filed a lawsuit making a similar argument in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Last June, before the money started flowing, a federal judge in Florida blocked the program on the basis that it is applied “strictly on the basis of race” regardless of other factors.

The delay has angered Black farmers that the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress are trying to help. They argue that the law is poorly written and that the White House has not defended it strongly enough in court for fear that a legal failure could undermine other policies that are anticipated about race.

Those concerns became even more apparent late last year when the government sent thousands of letters to minority farmers who had been late in making payments on their loans warning them they faced bankruptcy. property confiscated. According to the Department of Agriculture, the letters are sent automatically to any borrowers who are past due on their loan payments, including about a third of the 15,000 socially disadvantaged farmers who have applied. debt forgiveness.

Leonard Jackson, a cattle farmer in Muskogee, Okla., received such a letter despite being told by the USDA that he did not need to make loan payments because his $235,000 debt would be paid off. the government pays off. The letter was jarring for Mr. Jackson, whose father, a wheat and soybean farmer, had had his farm equipment confiscated by the government years earlier. The prospect of losing 33 cows, his house and his trailer was unforeseeable. Black farmers fear foreclosure as debt relief remains frozen

Fry Electronics Team

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