White Farmers Blocked a Much-Needed Federal Relief Program for Black Farmers. The Saga Proved Black Farmers won’t Overcome Racism Unless they take their Economic Future into their own Hands.

This month, in a historic step to redress racism, the United States Department of Agriculture planned to begin issuing $4 billion in debt relief to minority farmers around the country. The move follows a long and ugly record of discrimination, including by the USDA itself, writes Cornelius Blanding in an opinion column.

Depressingly but not surprisingly, a group of white farmers has sued the USDA over the relief program, which was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan back in March, the author says. These longtime beneficiaries of systemic racism now claim they are victims of reverse discrimination. On June 10, a US District court issued a temporary restraining order on the USDA’s plan while it decides if the agency’s program discriminates against white farmers. A judge in Florida also ruled against the program on June 24, throwing the future of the aid further into doubt, according to his piece on MSN.

More shocking, though, has been the reaction from banks. Three of the country’s biggest banking trade groups are fighting to stop the debt relief. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, they issued a barely veiled threat to withhold credit from farmers of color if the USDA moves ahead with the initiative, the story continues.

Read the full story on MSN.

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