Support for USDA Relief Aid to BIPOC Farmers
June 12, 2021
PCC signed on to a letter from the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural opposing a court restraining order that prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from providing financial assistance to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed in March 2021 by the Biden Administration, was the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill to support economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill included funding for assistance and loan forgiveness to farmers of color or those in the BIPOC community who have been historically disadvantaged partly due to discriminatory lending policies of the USDA. However, some white farmers and conservative groups have filed lawsuits against the USDA, claiming that directing funding specifically to help those marginalized communities is unconstitutional and puts white farmers as a disadvantage. The result has been a temporary restraining order preventing the USDA from implementing Section 1005 of the ARPA, to assist BIPOC farmers in paying off their Farm Service Agency direct or guaranteed loans.
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an organization that advocates on behalf of African American, American Indian, Asian-American, Euro-American and Latino farmers, farmworkers and rural communities in the US, and indigenous and campesino groups in Mexico. Through their work, Rural Coalition strives to develop equitable and sustainable food systems. Rural Coalition’s letter expresses strong opposition to the restraining order and encourages the USDA to continue their defense of this important assistance for farmers.
Read the full letter here.