Black Farmer Group Petitions To Intervene In Texas Debt Relief Lawsuit

Black farmers is seeking to jump into the Texas federal court battle that has stalled a $5 billion debt relief program
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A group of Black farmers is seeking to jump into the Texas federal court battle that has stalled a $5 billion debt relief program for farmers of color.

The motion to intervene filed on Tuesday by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund includes declarations from six farmers alleging discrimination from the Agriculture Department and Farm Service Agency loan programs.

The farmers argue that debt relief is key to their businesses’ survival and that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his Justice Department attorneys can’t be counted on to defend the debt relief program as vigorously as the Black farmers federation will.

“Its members realize the benefits from the program and that the constitutionality of racial justice programs be upheld,” wrote the group’s attorneys with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Although the Federation’s members will be most impacted by the outcome of this case, the record is currently devoid of any stories or narratives of Black farmers or other farmers of color. … It is certain that the Federation will present the case of past governmental discrimination more comprehensively and compellingly than the government has to date.”

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