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White Farmers Matter!

Biden’s USDA openly discriminates in farmer disaster relief.

by | Apr 13, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

The Biden administration’s assault on farmers now includes an openly racist and sexist dimension: allocating $25 billion in federal disaster relief funds to stricken farmers based solely on race and gender. The USDA has dispensed funds using this social justice criterion, employing skin color and gender preference above merit or need in yet another regulatory overreach by the Biden-Harris team. Typical of POTUS Biden’s pattern of defiance against established legal principles, the policy is blatantly unconstitutional and openly discriminates against white farmers.

USDA Discrimination Against White Farmers

The US Department of Agriculture is not empowered by Congress or the US Constitution to allocate taxpayer funds based exclusively on race, yet the nonprofit Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) alleges in a recent lawsuit on behalf of white farmers from Texas that it is doing precisely that. Joe Biden has defied a US Supreme Court determination that he cannot “forgive” student loan debt. He used the SEC to impose costly environmental reporting requirements on publicly traded companies, and manipulated EPA regulations to dominate the US car manufacturing industry. The common theme is one of bypassing the Constitution in order to implement social justice ideology.

The challenged USDA regulations favor farmers of color and the female gender over white farmers (of the male kind) for disaster relief. SLF Executive Director Kimberly Hermann alleges that such discriminatory classifications are not authorized by any power granted to USDA by the US Congress:

“The Biden Administration consistently crosses the line by mobilizing executive agencies to do Congress’s job. Once again, it has gone too far. Not only is USDA plainly violating the Constitution, but it is also acting without so much as a whisper from Congress. If Congress wanted USDA to carry out its emergency relief programs in such a drastic way, it would have done so clearly and in express terms. Congress’s silence is deafening.”

Classifying people by their race as a condition of receiving government benefits is … racist. It violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and other federal laws. In its landmark 6-2 ruling in 2023 stating that Harvard unconstitutionally discriminated against Asian Americans, the US Supreme Court Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard stated this clearly:

“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it. And the Equal Protection Clause, we have accordingly held, applies ‘without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality’ – it is ‘universal in [its] application.’ Yick Wo, 118 U. S., at 369. For ‘[t]he guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color.’ Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U. S. 265, 289–290 (1978) (opinion of Powell, J.). ‘If both are not accorded the same protection, then it is not equal.’ Id., at 290.”

Violating the Constitution… Again and Again

The male-plaintiff white farmers in the current case, Strickland, et al. v. United States Department of Agriculture, claim they are not being afforded equal treatment for disaster relief based solely on their race or gender. In its April 5, 2024, Brief in Support of a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction barring USDA from discriminating against them, legal counsel assert that USDA has unconstitutionally exceeded its authority:

“The Constitution promises equal treatment to all Americans regardless of their race or sex. It also promises the separation of powers. USDA broke both promises through the disaster and pandemic relief programs challenged here. Since 2020, Congress has appropriated nearly $25 billion to USDA in emergency disaster and pandemic relief to aid farmers. And while Congress never instructed USDA to allocate those funds based on race or sex, that is exactly what USDA did. Through the eight disaster relief programs challenged here, USDA gives more money to some farmers based on those characteristics alone.


“The agricultural sector is of vast economic significance. That makes USDA’s decision to implement race and sex preferences a major question that only Congress can address. When elected officials make this divisive choice, they rightly expect that they will have to answer to the American people. Yet Congress never mentioned race or sex in the relevant disaster relief appropriations. USDA also acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to explain its shift to a novel ‘progressive factoring’ system that reduces relief to those who suffer the most losses.”

“Unblemished by Success”

The brief asserts that race-based classifications are presumptively unconstitutional and that this has been made clear to the USDA by Congress. Nevertheless, the brief claims, the USDA continues to employ race-based definitions of “socially disadvantaged” farmers in its regulations, “even though its record of defending its race- and sex-based definitions is “unblemished by success.”

Using race-only criteria permits the transfer of government money to a very wealthy, retired black farmer in preference to a poor white family with young children. This is hardly equitable.

In The Quest for Cosmic Justice, Thomas Sowell explained that efforts to achieve “equity” in the form of equality of outcome in lieu of equality of opportunity inevitably create yet greater inequities. The USDA program also favors “underserved” farmers, including “beginning farmers.” The suit does not claim this classification violates racial prohibitions. Still, it is clearly inequitable – why should newbie farmers, often more likely to make errors as they learn the agricultural ropes, be preferentially compensated for losses over intergenerational farm families? The more the government discriminates using cosmic social “justice” categorizations, the more it undermines both equality and equity.

Marxist Chairman Joe Biden?

The Strickland Brief observes that Sowell’s caution is displayed by the USDA disaster relief policies under POTUS Biden:

“On January 20, 2021, President Biden declared it to be the policy of his administration that the federal government would pursue a ‘comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all’ through ‘an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda.’ Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, 86 Fed. Reg. 7009 (Jan. 25, 2021). President Biden doubled down on this order on February 16, 2023, pledging to ‘continuously embed equity into all aspects of Federal decision-making,’ by requiring agencies to ensure ‘equitable outcomes.’ Executive Order 14091, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, 88 Fed. Reg. 10825 (Feb. 22, 2023); but see Rollerson v. Brazos River Harbor Navigation Dist., 6 F.4th 633, 648 (5th Cir. 2021) (Ho, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment) (explaining that the difference between equity and equality is ‘the difference between color blindness and critical race theory’). In furtherance of this whole-of-government approach, Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of USDA, proclaimed that he ‘emphatically agreed’ with the President’s orders. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., Equity Action Plan 2023 Update, 2 (2024), https://perma.cc/PQH3-4B3W. And, at his direction, USDA ‘embraced the Administration’s equity agenda’ and is ‘[c]entering equity in everything [it] do[es].’”

Redistributing wealth through government to achieve equal outcomes is Marxist; doing so using race-only categorizations is boldly unconstitutional. Yet this is precisely what the Biden-Harris administration continues to do through regulatory agencies, in defiance of oaths of office and a 2023 Supreme Court ruling. While claiming Donald Trump and his followers are the greatest threat to the nation, Joe Biden persistently flouts clear laws – and farmers often take the short end of the Biden stick. As SFL observes, “Agriculture is a tough enough livelihood without the added hurdle of discrimination. … Natural disasters don’t discriminate. Neither should USDA.”

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