Why latest COVID relief bill sets aside money exclusively for farmers of color

Right now, the House is still debating President Biden’s $2 trillion dollar COVID relief package.

They are expected to pass it later today and send it to his desk, with $1,400 dollar stimulus payments going out this month.

The bill does not include any direct payments for farmers, but it does contain some ag provisions like expanding SNAP benefits and debt relief for farmers of color who faced discrimination in ag.

That is one of the more controversial portions of the bill because it sets aside money exclusively for farmers of color. We wanted to learn more about it, here is what we found:

  • It all stems from the Pigford case, the largest civil rights settlement in history

  • Black farmers claimed the USDA discriminated against them for farm loans and assistance in the 1980s and 1990s

  • To date, the government has set aside more than $2 billion dollars in settlements

  • More than 17,000 black farmers are still reportedly being hit with garnished wages from delinquent farm loans, 30 years later

  • This portion of COVID relief seeks to make amends


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