Farmers sue federal government for allegedly denying them loan forgiveness

Farmers from the Midwest are suing the federal government for allegedly barring them from participating in the Biden administration's loan forgiveness program because they're white, The Associated Press reported.

The Biden administration's COVID-19 stimulus package provides $4 billion for loan forgiveness to socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who are Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Alaskan native, Asian American or Pacific Islander, according to the AP, citing the lawsuit.

According to the plaintiffs, white farmers aren’t eligible, which is a violation of their constitutional rights. 

“Were plaintiffs eligible for the loan forgiveness 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,” the lawsuit alleges.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday issued a press release announcing it is reviewing the lawsuit but will continue to offer loan forgiveness to disadvantaged farmers.

“USDA has taken important steps toward enacting these debt relief provisions, including contacting lenders, distributing resources on loan forgiveness, and collecting data on eligible borrowers. More information is forthcoming on debt payments,” USDA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, civil rights advocates have applauded Biden for his stimulus plan as it can help minority farmers. 

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