Black farmers call for justice from the USDA

  • by Ximena Bustillo, NPR
  • 12-Feb-2023 12:00

'We're still struggling': Black farmers were the first to sue the USDA for racial discrimination in its operations; more than a generation later, they argue they are still left far behind. (NPR)

This story is part of a multipart series examining the disparate impacts on Black farmers.

Nearly two decades ago a class action lawsuit led by Black farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture was settled.

Then there was a class action from Native Americans.

And one from Hispanic farmers.

And then women farmers filed their own.

They all alleged, through various years of examples, that the USDA discriminated against them by denying them access to low-interest rate loans and loan servicing, grant programs and assistance, causing them hundreds of millions of dollars in economic loss and record-breaking land loss through foreclosures.

But two decades later despite being at the forefront of a landmark case against the USDA, Black farmers argue they are still left far behind.

"We're still struggling," said Eddie Lewis, a sugarcane farmer in Louisiana. "We're struggling to the point where we're going to be extinct."