A group of white farmers sued the federal government on Thursday, saying they can't participate in a COVID-19 credit program because they are midwestern.
The group of plaintiffs includes farmers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and South Dakota.According to the lawsuit, the COVID -- 19 stimulus plan of the Biden Administration offers $4 billion to forgive loans for socially marginalized farmers and ranchers who are Asian American Indian, Pacific Islander, or Alaskan Indian.
The white farmers aren't eligible and a violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights, the lawsuit contends.
If plaintiffs were eligible for the loan forgiveness benefit, they would have the opportunity to make additional investments in their land, expand their farms, procure equipment and supplies and otherwise support their families and local communities, the lawsuit said.Because plaintiffs are only ineligible to apply for the program purely due to their race, they have been denied equal protection of the law and therefore suffered harm.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement in which the department said it was reviewing the lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the agency plans to continue to offer loan forgiveness to disadvantaged farmers.
Lawyers for the federal Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the action on White Farmers' behalf in conservative court in Green Bay.
The filing seeks a court order prohibiting the USDA from using racial classifications when determining eligibility for loan modification and payments under the stimulus plan.It also seeks unspecified damages.