USDA loans have long been a critical support for farmers to purchase seeds and equipment, supplement their incomes, and expand their operations. These loans have not been distributed on an equitable basis. Specifically, Black farmers have been unfairly denied loans, subjected to unreasonable loan terms, and generally been put at a disadvantage because of their race. As a result, Black farmers have suffered financial and emotional damages.
The Biden administration is attempting to rectify this with the creation of a Discrimination Financial Assistance fund. At Osborne & Francis, our civil rights attorneys are working tirelessly to support Black farmers who want to pursue compensation for their damages. You can reach out to us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help maximize your compensation and how the personal injury claims process works.
The USDA Has a History of Discriminating Against Black Farmers
This is not the first time that Black farmers have pursued compensation in farming discrimination lawsuits. In 2010, Black farmers claimed that rampant discrimination on a systemic and individual level at the USDA had put them at a significant economic disadvantage. According to numerous reports, Black farmers were unfairly denied critical loans and grants which were afforded to their white counterparts.
In addition to the purely financial losses, many Black farmers had to endure the devastation of foreclosure, losing land that their family had farmed for generations. As a result, less than 1.5% of the U.S. producers are Black, as of 2017. This is due in large part to the discriminatory practices that have cost Black farmers a staggering $326 billion dollars worth of land.
In the largest civil rights settlement in U.S. history, Black farmers were awarded $50,000 each. This effort was championed by our own Greg Francis, who fought tirelessly to hold the USDA accountable in Pigford v. Glickman. While Pigford v. Glickman opened the door for other disenfranchised groups to successfully file civil rights lawsuits against the USDA and validated Black farmers’ claims, the pattern of discrimination has persisted.
Discrimination Financial Assistance is Available Through the Inflation Reduction Act
While the USDA was held liable for the racial discrimination against Black farmers in the 1980s and 1990s, this pattern of negligence has continued. The Biden administration has recognized this appalling injustice, and in conjunction with Congress created a path for farmers to be compensated for their losses.
In part, the Inflation Reduction Act acknowledges the discriminatory practice of USDA loan officers towards farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners based on factors like race or gender. There is a pool of 2.2 billion dollars available for plaintiffs to make claims against. Individual claims are currently capped at $500,000. This funding must be used by September 31st, 2031, so it is in your best interest to begin the process of filing a civil rights claim as soon as possible.
Understanding the Qualifications to Receive Compensation from the IRA
Black farmers who have experienced unfair treatment during the loans process should be aware of the requirements stipulated in the IRA in order to claim compensation. The specifics of certain qualifications are still being decided, but based on the information we currently have, the following must apply:
- You are a farmer, rancher, or forest landowner
- The discrimination must have taken place prior to January 1st, 2021
- There is evidence of discrimination, such as being denied a loan
- The discrimination occurred on the basis of a qualifying characteristic, such as race
- The discrimination inflicted damages
- The discrimination occurred in relation to the Direct FSA farm loan program, or the FSA discriminated against you when you sought a guaranteed farm loan
If you have any records, such as notes or emails, related to the discrimination you have faced while pursuing your loan that could be valuable evidence to support a determination that you experienced discrimination, which is a key step in recovering compensation for your damages. A civil rights attorney can help clarify if you meet the criteria to file a farming discrimination loan claim under the IRA.
Why Should I Choose Osborne & Francis to Represent Me?
Our personal injury law firm is unique in that we have successfully settled claims pertaining to discrimination against farmers. Attorney Greg Francis was lead counsel for the group of civil rights attorneys who settled the original farmer discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Black farmers for 1.25 billion dollars. Additionally, our team has consistently settled complex claims for the maximum compensation available, which speaks to our ability to negotiate effectively.
At Osborne & Francis, we understand that even one instance of discrimination can impact the future of a family farm for generations to come. Our team is committed to providing high-quality legal advice and extensive resources to Black farmers who have been treated unfairly during the USDA loans process. As former clients will corroborate, we are dedicated to our clients needs.
Contact Osborne & Francis For Help With Your Farm Loan Discrimination Claim
The civil rights attorneys of Osborne & Francis have a strong record of success settling comparable claims for farmers who have been discriminated against based on their race, which gives us an advantage when litigating similar claims. Our team will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure that your settlement accurately reflects the extent of the damages you have sustained.
You can trust that our team of personal injury lawyers will go above and beyond to hold the negligent parties responsible, even if that means going to trial. Our trial attorneys are prepared to negotiate for the maximum compensation by presenting compelling evidence to demonstrate the impact of the discrimination on your family’s well-being.
If you have experienced discrimination as a Black farmer while pursuing a USDA loan, the civil rights attorneys at Osborne & Francis have the legal expertise you need to maximize your compensation in a farmer discrimination lawsuit. You can reach out to us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando to schedule a free consultation.