A Wisconsin dairy farmer who is physically disabled has sued the Biden government over a COVID utility that excludes white farmers, arguing that the program is racist.
Adam Faust, who runs a herd of 140 Holsteins on his family farm in Chilton, joined other plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Green Bay last week, alleging that the loan forgiveness program is unlawfully discriminating against them.
It is a $ 4 billion program tucked into the Biden government’s COVID-19 incentive plan that forgives loans to farmers and ranchers who are black, Native American, Hispanic, or Asian – but not those who are white .
“It was just racist, and I really don’t think racism at any level should be allowed in the federal government,” Faust said. WLUK-TV.
Adam Faust, who runs a herd of 140 Holsteins at his family farm in Chilton, joined other plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in Green Bay last week.
The plaintiffs allege that the loan forgiveness program is unlawfully discriminating against them
Faust was born with spina bifida, a rare birth defect, and his leg was amputated after an industrial accident resulted in an infection later in life.
Last year, his other leg was amputated due to complications from diabetes, and he now uses two prosthetic legs.
On Wednesday evening, Faust appeared in an interview on Fox News, arguing that it was unfair to create racial criteria for participation in the program.
“I mean, racism against anyone is wrong. We cannot have a government pick and choose who they are going to give a program to based solely on the color of their skin, ”he said.
“Everything we all learned growing up his racism was wrong, and now the federal government suddenly seems to think that racism is acceptable in some ways,” he said.
Activists have hailed Biden’s stimulus plan as a means of finally helping non-white farmers, who they say have been discriminated against for years.
Faust’s attorney Rick Esenberg joined the interview and said, “There is no such thing as benign discrimination. There is no such thing as a little ‘makeup discrimination’ to even things out. ‘
Faust was born with spina bifida, a rare birth defect, and both of his legs were later amputated
Faust relies on prosthetics to work his farm, which consists of 93 acres of property and just over 400 acres of leased land
“I mean, look, we fought a civil war. We had a longstanding civil rights movement to recognize the principle stated in our founding documents that we should all be treated as individuals, and this really troubling mood we have about equality rather than equality of opportunity isn’t going to end well, ” Esenberg said.
The group of plaintiffs joining the lawsuit to challenge the program includes farmers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Ohio.
The lawsuit states that excluding white farmers from the program amounts to a violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
“ Were plaintiffs eligible for the loan repayment benefit, they would have the opportunity to make additional investments in their property, expand their farms, purchase equipment and supplies, and otherwise support their families and local communities ‘said the lawsuit.
“Because plaintiffs are ineligible to qualify for the program even because of their race, they have been denied equal protection under the law and suffered harm as a result.”
The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a statement saying it is reviewing the lawsuit with the United States Department of Justice, but that the USDA intends to continue offering forgiveness of loans to “ socially disadvantaged ” farmers.
Faust has grown his herd over the years and now numbers more than 140
Faust bought the 93 hectares from his father, continuing the family tradition of farming
Attorneys at the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the claim in federal court in Green Bay on behalf of the white farmers.
The filing is for a court order prohibiting the USDA from using racial classifications in determining eligibility for loan changes and payments under the incentive plan. It also seeks unspecified damages.
Non-white farmers have maintained for decades that they have been falsely denied agricultural loans and other government support.
The USDA settled lawsuits in 1999 and 2010 against black farmers who accused the agency of discriminating against them.
Less than 2 percent of the Trump administration’s direct loans in 2020 went to black farmers, but only 1.3 percent of the country’s farmers are black farmers, according to data from the USDA.
Some black farmers have also criticized Biden’s Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, for failing to address a backlog of discrimination complaints and hire minorities for senior positions.
Vilsack, who served under President Barack Obama and returned to the post after President Joe Biden took office, said in a statement last month that generations of socially disadvantaged farmers suffer from systematic discrimination and a cycle of debt.
He has been trying to assure minority farming groups that he will work to combat racism within the USDA.