A Democratic congressman blasted a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s $4 billion race-based federal relief program for farmers as “racial discrimination at its worst.”
“I strongly support and thank [Agriculture] Secretary Vilsack for standing up and fighting for this critical, urgent and much-needed legislation. This shameful lawsuit is racial discrimination at its worst against our nation’s Black farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers – and I do not say this lightly, because white farmers already own 98 percent of all the farmland in the United States and Black farmers own just one percent,” Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said in a statement on Monday.
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“The very survival of Black farmers is at stake – and this would be an unpardonable sin because we, as Black slaves, did the hard work and provided the foundation for America’s great agriculture system for free, for over 200 years, under the lash of the slave masters’ whips,” Scott continued.
Scott praised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for defending the program.
“In 1930 when my grandfather bought our family farm, where I was born, in Aynor, South Carolina, 21 percent of all the farms in the South were owned by Black families. Now, it is just one percent. I am in full support of Secretary Vilsack and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) effort to fight this lawsuit,” Scott said.
In this Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, Rod Bradshaw stands in a field of wheat on his farm near Jetmore, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel File)
A Wisconsin federal judge ordered a temporary halt to the program earlier in June after a lawsuit from a group of White farmers alleging discrimination.
Milwaukee District Judge William Griesbach issued a temporary restraining order, noting the White farmers “are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim” that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law,” according to NBC News.
“The obvious response to a government agency that claims it continues to discriminate against farmers because of their race or national origin is to direct it to stop: it is not to direct it to intentionally discriminate against others on the basis of their r
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