Judge halts loan forgiveness program for farmers of color after lawsuit alleges it discriminates against white farmers

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal choose has halted a loan forgiveness program for farmers of color in response to a lawsuit alleging the program discriminates against white farmers.

U.S. District Judge William Griesbach in Milwaukee issued a short lived restraining order Thursday suspending the program for socially deprived farmers and ranchers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The program pays as much as 120% of direct or assured farm loan balances for Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American or Pacific Islander farmers. President Joe Biden’s administration created the loan forgiveness program as half of its COVID-19 pandemic reduction plan.

Emily Newton, the lead lawyer representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture within the lawsuit, didn’t instantly reply to an e mail Friday searching for touch upon the restraining order.

Minority farmers have maintained for many years that they’ve been unfairly denied farm loans and different authorities help. Federal agriculture officers in 1999 and 2010 settled lawsuits from Black farmers accusing the company of discriminating against them.

Conservative regulation agency Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed swimsuit in April arguing white farmers aren’t eligible, amounting to a violation of their constitutional rights. The agency sued on behalf of 12 farmers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon and Kentucky.

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